the WAFFLE page

July 31, 2010. "Don’t focus on the one guy who hates you. You don’t go to the park and set your picnic down next to the only pile of dog shit." That's from a tweeter called Justin - I just write down shit my dad says.

Yes, I've joined Twitter. Not sure why yet. At least I can send tweets to people like Danny deVito, Stephen Fry, Craig Ferguson, Jim Carrey and John Cleese - for whatever it's worth.

Ohio Jace wrote: Here is a quote for you on Facebook 

“For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to “belong” to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.”

And just a few hours later the above was followed with

“As I said below, I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.”  Anne Rice.   She was raised Roman Catholic.

Anne Rice is an author of many gothic (vampire), erotic, and religious-based books selling nearly 100 million books. She also has a gay son, Christopher.

Jace also writes that he lost his brakes driving into town, including his emergency brake, and was lucky not to rear-end another car. He managed to bring it to a halt in a parking lot, which happened to be just across the road from a towing service. Pretty scary stuff. I don't wanna steal Jace's thunder but I was driving an old jalopy years ago and the pedal went to the floor as I approached a pedestrian crossing. To make matters worse, one of the pedestrians was a cop in uniform. Oops! Fortunately, the handbrake worked, and only just in time. Luckily, I wasn't traveling very fast, and the cop didn't notice. Then I drove all the way home - about 9 miles through built-up suburbia - using only the gears and handbrake. Another time, driving that same car, I managed to get all the way home on idle because the accelerator cable broke. Hehe. Oh, dear... 

But back to the Christian thing, if Christians followed the example set by Jesus Christ they'd all be wearing sandals and being nice to their neighbors, which is not the case. Organized religion is all about opulence and power, not humility. Anyway, seems to me that Anne Rice has taken a long time to conclude the obvious. 

Beeb time: A report into Australia's worst bushfires recommends sweeping changes to the way the government responds to natural disasters. I wonder if that includes natural disasters like Julia Gillard hehe. Floods caused by heavy monsoon rain kill more than 400 people in Pakistan and Afghanistan, washing away whole villages, roads and bridges. Yes, dear Breth, God works in mysterious ways. The founder of the website Wikileaks has rejected US claims he has blood on his hands after releasing 90,000 leaked classified documents on the Afghan war. Julian Assange told the BBC there was no evidence that any informants had died as a result of the leaks. He accused the Pentagon of trying to distract attention from the thousands of lives being lost in the war. He has a point. An architect and a retired office administrator have become the first gay couple to marry in Argentina under a new law legalising same-sex marriages. Miguel Angel Calefato, 65, and Jose Luis Navarro, 54, have lived together for 27 years. The sooner same sex marriages become the norm and no longer make headlines, the better. A desalination plant which begins operating in Madras on Saturday will provide some of the cheapest drinking water in India, backers say. They say that the plant will supply 1,000 litres of drinking water for just over $1 and could well be a "template" for other coastal Indian cities. It will provide 100 million litres of water a day to the city by filtering sea water under high pressure. Is this also the answer to rising sea levels? Comedienne and chat show host Ellen DeGeneres is leaving American Idol after one season on the judging panel. She said in a statement that while she "loved discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings". I can understand that. I hate being asked to comment on other people's work. A 20-year-old Christian mobile phone shop manager in Florida stopped a would-be armed robber by preaching to him about Jesus. Nayara Goncalves spent nearly five minutes persuading the man that he was doing the wrong thing. The man eventually apologised, explained his gun was a replica and left the shop in Broward County. Check out the vid. Young children are supplying an increasing demand from foreign tourists who travel to Brazil for sex holidays, according to a BBC investigation. Chris Rogers reports on how the country is overtaking Thailand as a destination for sex tourism and on attempts to curb the problem. There we go with the supply and demand thing again. One would not exist without the other.

Now here's a singer on Youchewb who caught my attention - Dustin Prinz. He requested me to become a "friend". I don't always respond to those requests but after watching this bloke I was happy to oblige.

Okies, kitchen time again. Omelets tonight... with chicken and ham and cheese. Gary

July 30, 2010. Just before Christmas I took Bluey to the car wash, and here it is almost August. Seems like just a few weeks ago. If you want time to pass really slowly, sit in a doctor's waiting room. If you're smiling, time flies. If you're pissed off, time drags. Or so it seems. In reality, time never varies. I heard former PM Bob Hawke say in an interview that "it all goes so quickly". He was referring to life. He's now 80, and his life has always been hectic, with a million things on his plate. Contrast that with my mother at 83 lamenting, "it's a long, long time". Go figure.

And me? Well, I can't believe I'm almost 66. My 40th birthday was a minute ago. If I listed all the things I've done and places I've been the list would be as long as a roll of toilet paper. I dunno what it all means, though. There doesn't seem to be any point to my life so far, except for Green Room and Green Room II. Others will disagree I suppose... almost 5000 people a month visit MrB, and over 600,000 visited the old site. Even Aussie Odyssey gets between 2.5 and 3,000 visits a month. It ain't Wikipedia but it ain't bad either.

I think being focused on a particular goal, is the key. I watched Cody Simpson's latest 'behind the scenes' vid on Youchewb where he talks about desperately wanting to be the best at what he does. He works very hard. Then I watched several Jack Benny clips... another hard worker. So I suppose in life you'll be as successful as you wanna be - or don't wanna be. No particular goal, nothing to aim for. No, that's not quite right. Having a goal is no good unless you work your ass off; unless you're obsessed with attaining it.

In that case, who's happier? The guy at the top or the guy just cruising along. Hehe. Maybe they're both just as happy. Yes, it's interesting to ponder what makes us happy. Is it the audience laughing its tits off or the comedian on stage?

Beeb time: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia are to pay a joint visit to Lebanon to help defuse tension. Good luck, chaps. You're not the first, and I doubt you'll be the last. The Mexican government says security forces have killed leading drug trafficker Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel. I wish it were otherwise but it's a bit like stepping on an ant. Researchers identify rocks in trench on the dark side of Mars that they say could contain the fossilised remains of life on the planet. Now that would be exciting. If life exists on earth, it probably exists elsewhere. Whether or not it's intelligent life is another matter. A woman in northern France has admitted killing her eight newborn babies but said her husband knew nothing about it, the prosecutor in the case has said. Dominique Cottrez has been placed under investigation over the deaths, which happened between 1989 and 2006. Her husband has been freed without charge. Mr Cottrez said he had never noticed his wife's pregnancies because of her heavy weight, and had no idea she had been getting rid of the babies at birth, the prosecutor said. How bizarre. Police in California say they have seized $1.7bn worth of marijuana plants in the Sierra Nevada mountains. They have also arrested 97 people over the past three weeks, most of them Mexican nationals believed to have ties with Mexican drug cartels. Experts say Mexican cartels are increasingly growing marijuana in the US, rather than smuggling it there. Toyota does the same thing... it builds factories where the market is. If there was no market, they wouldn't do it. A bike hire scheme designed to encourage thousands more cycle journeys in central London has begun. Already, more than 12,450 keys have been handed out to Londoners enabling them to unlock bikes left at 330 docking points across the city. That's not a bad idea actually... but London's weather won't help. About £10,000 in hidden cash was recovered from an Italian man's underwear as he was about to fly out from Belfast International Airport. He was unable to give a reasonable explanation for carrying the cash. I'm not surprised hehe. Oil giants Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil see profits almost double in the week rival BP suffered record losses. Yes, but they're not crying over spilt oil. Three time capsules are being created to mark what would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday and will be dedicated at a ceremony in the US. The capsules, which will contain music from his post-Beatles career and fan contributions, are to be stored at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They will be reopened in 30 years' time on 9 October 2040, which will mark the centenary of Lennon's birth. I remember the day. I was being driven to a client's office in a white Ford LTD and heard the news on the car radio. When we got to the office, I wrote on his white board, "They shot John Lennon today".

Yep, that was 30 years ago, and there are adults walking around today who weren't even born then. Kinda scary, actually. Gary

July 29, 2010. I should open a Jaffle stall. I'm having one for lunch... chicken and cheese. They cost practically nothing to make and could easily sell for $2.50 each. No,make that $2.99. Since the one and two cent coins disappeared from Oz currency a decade or whatever ago, prices are now rounded down to the nearest 5 cents. $2.99 is three bucks. $2.97 is $2.95. The five cent coin is now our lowest denomination. There's not a damn thing you can buy with five cents anyway. Early last century we had farthings, four to a penny (cent). As a kid, I was able to buy a penny's worth of broken biscuits in a large brown paper bag. Biscuits came in large tins then, and there were always a few broken ones at the bottom of each tin after the rest were sold.

BTW, the Oz dollar is now back to about 90 cents US after drifting down to 80 cents. Boing, boing, boing. Good for imports, not so good for exports.

Cooking. Yes, some bloke a long time ago accidently dropped a fish on the fire and whammo, tasted pretty good. Hehe. And the culinary arts were born. Then the Chinese and Indians discovered spices that revolutionized cooking. And someone discovered that separating curd from milk made cheese. And a very sensible person discovered that fermenting grape juice turned it into a most delectable drop. All pretty amazing stuff. Lions and tigers have no idea what they're missing.

Beeb time: Pakistan is observing a day of national mourning following the country's worst-ever air disaster. An Airbus A321 crashed as it was about to land in the capital Islamabad, killing all 152 people on board. The domestic flight from the southern city of Karachi was operated by the private Pakistani airline Airblue, which has a good safety record. There is no word on the cause of the crash. It happened in heavy monsoon rain and poor visibility. I won't mention this to L&S. They're due to fly to England on an Airbus in a little over a week. Here's an Air Disasters Timeline, if you're interested. Oil from BP's damaged Gulf of Mexico well is clearing from the sea surface faster than expected, scientists say, 100 days after the disaster began. Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said much oil had been "biodegraded by naturally occurring bacteria". Well, that'll certainly upset the doomsdayers. Personal details of 100m Facebook users have been collected and published on the net by a security consultant. Facebook says that info is readily available anyway. So what's the biggie? The UN has declared that access to clean water and sanitation is a fundamental human right. I don't understand the meaning of 'right'. A federal judge in Arizona has blocked key parts of the state's strict immigration law a day before it was due to take effect. The judge blocked a requirement that police check the immigration status of criminal suspects whom they had stopped while enforcing other laws. Among the other parts of the law blocked was a section making it a crime not to carry immigration papers. I'm reminded of old war movies when people were stopped regularly by Nazi authorities and asked for their papers. Britain's oldest Tweeter has died in her sleep at the age of 104, staff at her care home have said. Ivy Bean, from Bradford, acquired over 56,000 followers on the popular micro-blogging service. What a wonderful old lady.

Yes, fundamental human rights. How about the fundamental human right to be free of disease? Or poverty? Or failure? Or lonliness? Is there a fundamental right that all human beings have to be born healthy, whole and intelligent? I mean, who is in charge of dispensing fundamental rights? Like I said, I don't understand the meaning of 'right'. I figure rights are earned, not given. If people want a better life they have to work for it. No living thing on this earth has a right to exist. If it doesn't make the grade, it perishes. Survival of the fittest. Now that doesn't mean you and I can't lend a hand to help whatever it is that needs help... another human being, an animal, a forest or whatever. But I wouldn't call survival a right. There's no such thing.

Do L&S have a fundamental right to enjoy home-made crumbed rissoles for dinner tonight, with chips and eggs? No, they don't. But I'll make the rissoles anyway because I'm a nice guy. I even bought a stick of celery to add to the onion and herbs mix.

Time to jet. Byeeeeeee. Gary

July 28, 2010. Ya know, when you're just six years old, you shouldn't be able to play the piano this well. Check out little Emily Bear on the Ellen Show.

I've watched a couple of Emily's vids and noted that she often says "it just came to me". She was asked 'came from where?' and she said she didn't know. Well, I suspect it didn't come from outside, but rather inside. Anyway, it's always a joy to watch talented kids.

Inspiration is lacking today, big time. After staring at this screen for quite a while, with nothing forthcoming, I decided to make noodles for lunch. Maybe that will get the juices flowing. Creativity is a funny thing ya know. You can't whistle it like you whistle a dog. It's either there or it ain't. But when it does come, you have to be prepared for it and capture it. Always keep a notebook and pencil handy.  That's the way I organize the grocery list. I've told L&S to write things down when they notice them needing replacement... then and there before they forget. I've heard that some writers keep a notebook and pencil alongside the bed in case they get an idea during the night. Ideas can be slippery critters ya know, they can appear and then vanish quick as a flash.

Beeb time: BP will emerge from the oil spill crisis a smaller and wiser company, its incoming boss says, as the company announces a record $17bn (£11bn) loss. I'm amazed they have the resources to survive such a mammoth loss in the first place. The characteristic koalas, kangaroos, possums and wombats of Australia share a common American ancestor, according to genetic research from Germany. Writing in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) Biology journal, they suggest a single marsupial species moved from the Americas to Australia. "Maybe it's around 30-40 million years ago, but we cannot say because jumping genes do not give this information," Dr Schmitz told BBC News. Well, I can tell you this much... they've lost their American accent. Many artists fear their creativity will dry up - and often it does. But, says Professor Robert Winston, great composers have come through creative blocks to produce outstanding works. At least one, though, was driven to suicide by vanishing inspiration. If you believe it's gone, you'll make it so. Patience, my dear boy, patience. A US federal watchdog has criticised the US military for failing to account properly for billions of dollars it received to help rebuild Iraq. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction says the US Department of Defence is unable to account properly for 96% of the money. Out of just over $9bn (£5.8bn), $8.7bn is unaccounted for, the inspector says. Oops! Police in the Philippines have arrested a suspect in the murder of nine people, including three foreigners. The suspect, Mark Dizon, was arrested in the northern city of San Fernando after being identified through his Facebook account, police said. He is suspected of killing an American, a Briton, a Canadian, their Filipina partners and three domestic staff in a string of robberies throughout July. Have you noticed not too many criminals are very bright? A priest in Canada has apologised after giving Holy Communion to a dog. Reverend Marguerite Rea of St Peter's Anglican Church, in Toronto, received complaints from Christians all over Canada after she fed communion bread to a German Shepherd cross named Trapper. The canine controversy began last month when four-year-old Trapper and his owner, Donald Keith, 56, attended the church in Toronto's downtown area for the first time. "The minister welcomed me and said come up and take communion, and Trapper came up with me and the minister gave him communion as well," Mr Keith told the Toronto Star. All creatures great and small, yes? I can easily imagine Jesus doing something like that. He was born surrounded by animals. But the life that Jesus led is a far cry from the lives led by those who built an empire in his name. Compare the humble manger visited by the three wise men to the Vatican that exists today. Hello?

Well, it seems that carburetors are a bit like hats. Not all hats fit the same head. And what works on a bench in a workshop doesn't necessarily work when refitted to the original engine. Now they tell me. So Bluey will HOPEFULLY be okay after next Monday when she goes back into the workshop to have the new hose fitted, and a few adjustments made to the idle. What a nightmare this has been.

Speaking of hats, Lindsay spent $130 on a genuine black Akubra the other day. He'll wear it in England and tell everyone he's a true blue Aussie. Yeah, right. I just asked Lindsay if he'd ever heard of Benjamin Dunkerley and he said, "never heard of him". So there ya go. Akubra slouch hats worn by Aussie diggers during WW I became a highly-regarded Aussie icon, and are still in use today.

Another interesting 19th century immigrant to Oz was Fred Peters, from Michigan. His bicycle import business in Oz failed and he returned to America where his father said, 'Son, the place to find your money is where you lost it'. So Fred returned to Oz and started Peters Ice Cream (using his grandmother's recipe), which became a huge company whose trademark remains to this day.

So what's the moral of the story? You don't need to be a lawyer or a doctor or a whatever to be successful. All you have to do is make ice cream or hats. Too easy, yeah? Hehe.

Yes, it's all very interesting. There are 6.5 billion people on the planet and they can't all be successful. That's impossible. So what separates the winners from the also-rans? I'll leave you to figure that out.

Yes, it's kitchen time again. I wonder if I'll be bothered with all that when I'm solo again. Probably not. Gary

July 27, 2010. I found this vid clip on Youchewb quite fascinating: what goes on in the brain when you play a piano. Johnathan Miller chats to Dudley Moore at the keyboard.

Apart from that I'm grumpy. I probably need a break from all this waffle business... maybe even from the internet for a while. But what else would I do? The vacuuming? Ironing?

Let's do a quick Beeb: BP is set to announce a record loss, having put aside an estimated £16bn-£19bn ($25bn-$30bn) to cover costs of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. And here's me bitching about spending $600 on Bluey's carby. The US military says it could take weeks to determine the damage from a huge leak of classified military records. "Hello? Is that the mayor of Hiroshima? We're just wondering if next Monday would be okay to drop an atomic bomb on your city. Say about 9am-ish?" A warming climate could see millions of adult Mexicans migrate to the US as rising temperatures cause a drop in crop yields, according to a study by researchers at Princeton University. For every 10% of lost crop yields in Mexico, 2% more Mexicans are likely leave their country, the study says. And now you  know why the Chinese built the Great Wall. A boat made from thousands of plastic bottles has sailed into Sydney Harbour, completing a four-month voyage that began in San Francisco. The boat, called the Plastiki, was built using 12,500 plastic bottles. Its 9,000 mile (15,000 km) voyage aimed to raise awareness of the dangers posed to the environment by plastic waste. Hundreds of people turned out in Sydney to welcome the Plastiki and its crew of six. Only hundreds? That's a bit disappointing. Rock band the Kings of Leon have been forced to end a concert early after pigeons defecated on them from the rafters of a US venue. The rockers abandoned the gig in St Louis after three songs when bass player Jared Followill was hit in the mouth and face by pigeon droppings. That's the trouble with pigeons... no decorum. A Spanish man who underwent the world's first full face transplant has revealed his new look before TV cameras. The 31-year-old thanked his donor's family and the medics that gave him a new face in March at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, Barcelona. Still not a good look but I suppose it's a start. I think we can all be thankful for what we have. BP chief executive Tony Hayward will get an immediate annual pension worth about £600,000 ($930,000) when he leaves in October, the BBC has learned. That's over $900,000 more than I'm getting. At the age of 97, Henry Kerr has married 87-year-old Valerie Berkowitz after wooing her for four years. The pair, who met in a residential home in Golders Green, north London, tied the knot in a ceremony at the home on Sunday followed by high tea for 80 guests. Mr Kerr said when he asked the now Mrs Berkowitz Kerr to marry him she "burst into a hysterical laugh". She agreed after Mr Kerr said he would not ask her again. Bloody blackmail, that's what it boils down to.

I just had a response from a Red Bubbler about the Telemarketer ditty I wrote. She said she had tears rolling down her cheeks from laughing. I started writing those things over 30 years ago on a manual Olivetti typewriter. At the time, my only audience was my boss. He loved them. I called them One And Two, And Sometimes Three, because they were conversations between two people, with an occasional third person. So here I am over three decades later still churning them out, and now I'm wondering if they're worth publishing. Lately, I've been keeping the MS Word window open all day in case something pops into my head. That's the way it works, and if I don't write it down right away I lose it. Most of the stuff I've written in the past is gone so I'm more or less starting from scratch again. To me, they're little slices of life... a moment captured during a brief conversation. Kinda like a Gary Kelly version of Gary Larson's humor, using dialogue. Hmmm. Well, ya never know. If it catches on, I might have me a motorhome.

There's a chicken in the oven... been there for almost an hour and a half, and the spuds have been in there for over half an hour. So that's it for tonight... roast chicken and roast herbed potatoes... and gravy. There's nothing like marinated chicken in an oven bag, roasted slowly for about 2 hours. The flesh is moist and literally falls off the bone. And the spuds are crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. Yeah? Sounds pretty good to me. Gary

July 26, 2010. Yes, I'm a very naughty boy. I promised I'd go to the swap meet at Nabiac yesterday but I chickened out. Today is a better day weatherwise... sunny and mild... but the swap meet is over. Boom boom.

Australian PM Julia Gillard debated opposition leader Tony Abbott last night on ABC TV. It was polite, and neither leader delivered a knockout punch. I must admit that Gillard handles herself pretty well under pressure, but I don't think either leader is very inspiring. Anyway, it wasn't really a debate. The two leaders responded to questions from a panel of journalists and that was it. Pretty ho hum, really. The election will be held August 21, so we won't have to wait long before we know who will govern the country for the next 3 or 4 years.

They're both Poms, by the way. Gillard was born in Wales, and Abbott was born in England.

Watching a suicide jumper threatening to leap off a city building ledge is not my idea of a fun time, but I made an exception of this one, and I'm glad I did. I like a happy ending. :o)

Beeb time: Former Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch has been found guilty of crimes against humanity by Cambodia's UN-backed war crimes tribunal. Duch, 67, whose full name is Kaing Guek Eav, was sentenced to 35 years in prison. He had admitted overseeing the torture and execution of thousands of men, women and children at the notorious Tuol Sleng prison, and asked for forgiveness. Unthinkable and unspeakable. How that man can live with himself is beyond me. More than 90,000 secret US military records are leaked to the media by Wikileaks, revealing unreported details of the war in Afghanistan. That's probably taking freedom of information a little too far. Gunmen who killed 17 people at a party in northern Mexico earlier this month were let out of prison to carry out the attack, state prosecutors say. Guards at a prison in Durango state are accused of lending the inmates weapons and vehicles to commit the murders in neighbouring Coahuila state before returning them to their cells. The same group of prisoners are thought to have carried out other killings. The prison director and at least two other officers are under investigation. They've gotta be kidding. Stay tooned for the movie. President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has threatened to halt oil exports to the US if his country is attacked by Colombia - a close US ally. The threat comes amid an escalating dispute over allegations that Venezuela is harbouring Colombian rebels. Venezuela is America's fifth biggest source of imported oil, supplying about a million barrels a day. Green, green, green. The sooner we go green the better. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned the European Union against imposing sanctions, saying his country would cause it to "regret" the move. Mr Ahmadinejad said that anyone who adopted hostile measures "should know that Iran will react swiftly". While the rest of the world twiddles its thumbs? Oil giant BP has confirmed it will begin drilling off the Libyan coast in the next few weeks. The deepwater drilling will take place in the Gulf of Sirte following a deal signed in 2007 with Libya on oil and gas development. The news comes amid major concerns over BP's environmental and safety record following the Gulf of Mexico spill. Business is business, I guess. Besides, they have bills to pay.

Got a letter today from the estate agent to say that our rent is going up in October. I think we can handle an extra $5 a week. The rent for this 8-room house is still cheaper than we paid for a 2-bedroom dump in Sydney 9 years ago! Most comparable rental properties around here are $100 a week dearer, so I think we're doing okay.

Oh, and my carby bloke answered my email: Yes Nissan can make small adjustments which is what they should have done when they fitted it back to the car, Not all engines run the same so when we set them up it still may need up or down idle and mixture settings on your car.. After they have done there bit drop round and let me know how its going.

Kitchen time. Gary

July 25, 2010. It's a good thing I remembered to get my ticket in time for last night's Lotto draw, otherwise I would never have known I didn't win anything.

It's cold and gray, not the kinda day you wanna be outdoors. Will I make the trip to Nabiac or not? Dunno yet.

Meanwhile, Canon has shown its new Super Camera at a 2010 Expo. It may very well do away with conventional still photography and traditional SLRs.

The Federal Government is now offering a $2000 cash-for-clunkers incentive to owners of cars manufactured during or before 1995 to trade them on a low-emission, fuel-efficient vehicle. But only one currently-available Australian-manufactured car meets the standard. All the rest, and there are only 5, are imported. Dumb idea, Ms Gillard.

Anyway, they'd wanna offer me a bit more than that after what I've spent on Bluey. While the scheme may stimulate sales of new cars, it will also lower the market value of older cars like mine. In other words, the government couldn't give a rat's ass about people like me who can't afford a new car. The majority rules, right? That's where the votes are.

Beeb time: At least 18 people are killed in a stampede at the Love Parade dance music festival in the German city of Duisburg, police say. You have to be crazy to be part of a crowd like that, in my opinion. I have an instinctive aversion to crowds. I get claustrophobic. Russian PM Vladimir Putin meets the Russian agents deported from the US and says they will have "bright, interesting lives". Been pretty exciting so far. Two US soldiers have been captured by Taliban insurgents in eastern Afghanistan, reports say. An Afghan official says the two men were seized in Logar province after an exchange of fire with the militants on Friday. A spokesman for the Nato-led force (Isaf) later confirmed the missing were US soldiers. The US military later offered a $20,000 (£12,956) reward for information leading to the safe release of the men. Kinda like stealing a salmon from a bear's mouth. A bear climbed into an empty car in the US state of Colorado, sounded the horn and sent the vehicle rolling down hill with the terrified animal still inside. The car's owner, 17-year-old Ben Story, took a snap of the panic-stricken bear as it demolished the inside of his vehicle in its bid to escape. Police in Larkspur, near Denver, eventually freed the animal by opening the door from a distance using a rope. It is believed the bear was attracted by a sandwich left on the back seat. Mr Story and his family were asleep when the bear opened the unlocked door of his 2008 Toyota Corolla in the early hours of the morning and climbed inside. Yes, ya gotta be careful of those critters. Hehe. YouTube's 'Life in a Day' project is hoping thousands of video entries from across the globe will capture on camera the lives of people around the world on a single day. Daniel Seiberg reports. Check out the report here. The F22 Raptor fighter jet took to the skies at the Farnborough air show. The US Air Force stealth aircraft is made by Lockheed Martin, and is arguably the world's most sophisticated fighter jet. The fifth-generation fighter twists, turns and rips through the sky, at points seemingly floating through the air like a snowflake, thanks to turbofans that include thrust vectoring. It can evade and battle ground defence systems, is kitted out for surveillance and intelligence work, and has hidden weapons bays. If you wanna take a ride in that thing, be my guest. I'll stay here and make the sandwiches.

Have I motored out to Nabiac yet? Nope. Too cold and gray. Besides, it's too late. I'm very much a 'too' person... too hot, too cold, too wet, too hard, too whatever. Any excuse to procrastinate, that's me.

Did I just say procrastinate? It's Monday morning already. Gary

July 24, 2010. Bluey's tank is full and tomorrow I'll take her for a run out to Nabiac for the motorcyle and vintage car swap meet. Should be good for a few photo opportunities. And a bit of an Italian tune up along the Pacific Hwy won't do her any harm either. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I took my first sample for the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program last night. I followed all the instructions, and laid a sheet of specially prepared paper over the water in the bottom of the bowl - AFTER I'd peed - and then did my thing. So there I was, standing with my pants down, taking a sample of my poo with a plastic thingy that came as part of the kit, when the door opened. It was Lindsay. No knock, no "is anyone in there?", no attempt whatsoever to check if the loo was vacant... he just barged in. So what do you say? I mean, sitting on the loo with your pants around your ankles is okay, standing and pulling your pants up is okay, but reaching into the bowl and fiddling with your poo is not something you can easily explain.

Anyway, I managed to bring Lindsay up to speed about what I was doing and why, and he thought it was hilarious. Yeah, right. One more sample to go and I swear I'll never do it again.

Remember when men were men? Rough, tough, and ultra macho? Remember James Cagney? Yeah, well here's something to remind you.

Beeb time: North Korea says it will use its "nuclear deterrent" in response to joint US-South Korean military exercises this weekend. Yeah, well, save some for later guys cos you'll need it. At least 16 people are reported killed in a US drone attack in north-west Pakistan, security officials say. If that had been 16 Americans killed by a Pakistani drone attack it would have made a bigger headline. One person was killed and at least 42 others injured when a tourist train derailed in the Swiss Alps, police say. Most of the passengers on the Glacier Express were Japanese tourists, police said. Three carriages came off the tracks and two tipped over in the accident, which occurred on a panoramic route between Zermatt and St Moritz. If that had happened in India, it probably wouldn't have made the headlines. German potato lovers will soon have to put up with shorter chips and smaller crisps, the country's Farmers' Association (DBV) has warned. The current heat wave is producing smaller potatoes, DBV spokeswoman Verena Telaar told the BBC. Small potatoes usually means no big deal. The Indian government has unveiled the prototype of an iPad-like touch-screen laptop, with a price tag of $35 (£23), which it hopes to roll out next year. Aimed at students, the tablet supports web browsing, video conferencing and word processing, say developers. Hello? I paid a grand for this laptop. Is there a rip-off happening here in the Western world? An Italian Catholic diocese has denounced homosexual priests for their "double life" and said they should not be in the priesthood. The Church holds that all sexual activity outside marriage is sinful and regards homosexual acts as unnatural. However, wearing frocks and party hats and living a celibate life with a bunch of likeminded hymn-singing blokes is perfectly acceptable. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said his country plans to send a man into space by 2019, official state media report. Hopefully it'll be him and the bloody thing will disappear forever. Ford surprised Wall Street with a $2.6bn profit in the last quarter as it continued to take sales from rivals. America's number two carmaker saw sales growing at almost double the overall pace of the industry, in a sign that it has turned the corner. Henry will be pleased! - not to mention his employees. Futuristic computers that learn to see and listen could result from research into the ways nerve cells communicate. Abso-bloody-lutely. Copy the human brain... that's the way to go. But be careful whose you copy hehe.

Well, I've figured out what my next book will be. What's it all about? Well, here's an example. I've written a few already but I need to write about 200 for a proper book. 200 topics. That's quite a few! Yeah, I reckon that's the go. Whether I publish it myself or go to a publisher remains to be seen. But I do rather like short, concise statements. Make a point and move on. And what's the point? Just to make people think. That's all.

It's 5pm. How flieth time. Yes, direction. Life is like a road map. You look at all those roads going off in a zillion directions and you gotta choose one. But which one? You can't choose two... not at the same time, anyway. Gary

July 23, 2010. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation here in Oz (ABC) has just launched a new free-to-air 24/7 TV news channel. The ABC has operated a 24/7 news service on radio for over a decade now, but TV brings us piccies! And the new TV service is also available over the internet. The best part is that the ABC has no advertising... just wall to wall news. I've been watching it on the comp screen for a while and the reception quality is excellent. The ABC in Oz is the equivalent of the BBC in Britain... government funded but certainly NOT government influenced... fully independent and unbiased - ish. :o)

This new information age is just wonderful. There was a time when I reached for the dictionary or the synonyms and antonyms dictionary or the reverse dictionary or whatever to find something. Now I just Google. You wanna know the origin of 'don't look a gift horse in the mouth'? Just type it in. You wanna know how to spell something? Just type it in. You're not sure exactly how a quote goes? Just type in what you think it is. You can't remember how to spell diarrhoea? No worries... give it a shot. You wanna know how to spell chihuahua? Hehe. It's there. With ordinary dictionaries you need to be familiar with the correct spelling in order to find the word. Not with Google. Just take a wild stab. Yes, it's all there... from Adam to zoology. Now there's no excuse to be dumb.

Beeb time: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez severs diplomatic relations with Colombia over claims his country is harbouring guerrillas. Yes, let's spit the dummy rather than talk about it. BP has sought to 'buy' the best scientists to aid its defence against litigation in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the head of an academic group says. BP faces more than 300 lawsuits so far. In a statement, BP says it has hired more than a dozen national and local scientists "with expertise in the resources of the Gulf of Mexico". Is anyone surprised? Microsoft reports a sharp rise in quarterly profits to $4.52bn as sales of the Windows 7 operating system top 175 million. Well, I guess everyone gets it right sooner or later. President Barack Obama has called agriculture official Shirley Sherrod to express his "regret" over her recent sacking. Mrs Sherrod was fired after a blogger posted a video of her apparently suggesting she had not fully helped a farmer because he was white. If he was a fan of the Black & White Minstrel show on telly he would have known how to do something about that. A Russian nuclear expert freed from prison and sent to the UK in a spy swap has said he wants to go home to Russia. Igor Sutyagin, 45, says he wants to see his wife and children and fix the porch on his house in Obninsk near Moscow. Home is where the heart is, yeah? Desmond Tutu is bowing out of public life: A kid asked me a few years ago, "What do you do to get the prize?" I said, "It's very easy, you just need three things - you must have an easy name, like Tutu for example, you must have a large nose and you must have sexy legs." - July 2009. Read more of Tutu's quotes here

Soooooo... the hose that was supposed to arrive for Bluey's carby didn't... by the time Shane ordered it from Sydney yesterday, the courier had already left 10 minutes earlier. It won't be here until sometime Monday. But Shane is taping the old hose and putting Bluey back together for me so I can have the car for the weekend. Seems like a lotta trouble to go to but I appreciate it. I have shopping and other things to do! Shane's a pretty good bloke - Aussie with Austrian background. "That's the trouble with living in the country," he said about the delay in getting the hose on time. True. Living in the country has its drawbacks but there are also pluses, and I think I prefer the pluses. Few traffic lights and NO parking meters, for one. Shane just called... a driver is on his way to collect me. Pretty good service, yes?

Well, after a lotta farting around, and shopping, it's almost 6pm... kitchen time. Yes, Bluey is running quite well. But she's idling way too high for my liking. I don't understand why people can't get it right. Anyway, she's gotta go back next week to have the new hose fitted, so I'll ask Shane to adjust the idle while he's at it. When the engine is hot, idle is 500rpm, right? Not 1500rpm. Sheesh. Anyway, it is better than what it was... so I guess that's something. Gary

July 22, 2010. Just checked out my Youchewb channel and found this piano piece called Apologize by David Sides. It's very nice.

Lulu wrote yesterday to say they discovered a gremlin in the works that had prevented Green Room from showing up in searches. Thanks very much. They fixed it so... well... maybe I'll sell a few more copies. 

Now I'm waiting for a call from Pro Carb to say they've sent the carby back to Nissan. Nothing yet, though. I paid the bill by Netbank transfer last night and emailed a copy of the receipt to Pro Carb. Those guys don't trust anyone. They told me the carby doesn't leave the workshop until the bill is paid. I guess they can afford to be cheeky because they're the only guys in town who know anything about carbies.

I really hate being kept in the dark. Ya know? If the guy's busy he thinks that's a legitimate excuse to ignore you. He's got better things to do than bother with your questions. That's the way it is, though. Busy = shuddup and don't bother me.

May I speak to Mr Smithers please?
Sorry, he's in a meeting. May I take a message?
Tell Smithers his fly is undone - but wait until after the meeting.

And I hate answering machines and message services. "Thank you for your patience. Your call has been placed in a queue and will be answered by the first available operator."

Cody used to get upset with me when I wrote "to be continued" at the end of a chapter hehe. Actually, I remember the old serials at the Saturday matinees. The first five minutes was what happened last week, the next five minutes was what's happening this week, and the final five minutes was what's gonna happen next week.

Beeb time: Canadian-born newspaper tycoon Conrad Black is released from a US prison on $2m bail, pending an appeal. That'll be a pleasant change from prison food. Social network site Facebook says it now has more than half a billion registered users, after adding 100m in the last six months. I'm not one of them. Are you? US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has warned that the outlook for the US economy remains "unusually uncertain". But he downplayed fears that the US could re-enter recession. Downplayed... now there's an interesting word. The Roman Catholic Church in Chile has urged the government to pardon any members of the country's military who show repentance for the crimes they committed under military rule. The Chilean Bishops' Conference said there should be room for clemency. The families of those abused under General Augusto Pinochet's rule reacted angrily, accusing the Church of turning its back on the victims. Good ol' repentence. All is forgiven. Pakistan bowl out Australia for 88 and close 60 runs ahead on 148-3 in reply after day one of the final (cricket) Test at Headingley. Yeah, well, just ignore that. Pretend it's not there

Still no call from Pro Carb so I phoned Nissan and asked if they have the carby yet. Yes, they do, and they're fitting it now. Shane said it's all clean and bright and shiny. Well, that's something. He'll phone again later and send someone out to give me a ride back to the workshop.

Here's one of the most interesting vids I've seen on Youchewb... a former KKK guy talking about a black reverend who beat him at his own game. 

After 4pm and nothing... not a peep. Hey, who the fuck am I anyway? I'm only the customer. Was there a problem with the carby when it was refitted? I dunno. Was the job not done properly? I dunno. What's causing the the problem? I dunno. WAIT! The phone rang. It's Shane. I asked him if he's got a spare bit of rope cos I feel like strangling somebody. "Yeah, I got plenty of rope," he said. Anyway, it's a hose... some kinda hose that fits onto the carby. The old one is cracked and stiff. No one in Taree's got one so he had to shop around. It'll arrive tomorrow. So that's okay... no worries. I can handle a hose. I just want the carby to be okay after I -PAID- $600 for it to be fixed. Actually, he said it's working quite well but he doesn't wanna connect the old hose cos it'll suck crap into the carby. No, no, no, we don't want that! A new hose it is! Tomorrow's fine. That'll do.

So that means I've done no shopping. It means I've gotta scrounge around the kitchen to find something to feed the troops. I found 2 sausage rolls, a chicken schnitzel and some hash browns. Hehe. So we won't starve. Seeya later. Gary

July 21, 2010. Cloudy, showery and cold. How bloody wonderful. Where would I really like to be right now? Lemme see. Cairns in tropical north Queensland sounds okay... minimums in the low 20s C and maximums in the mid 20s. Yes, I could handle that. We're not even getting maximums in the low 20s! More like mid teens. Broome in Western Oz sounds even better... minimums in the high teens and maximums around 30 C... and SUNNY. Mind you, Taree ain't all that bad compared to some places in Oz. Canberra at the mo is getting minimums of zero and below, and maximums of low to mid teens. Brrrr.

The east coast of Oz was settled by Europeans first. Working from south to north, we have the island of Tasmania, named after Abel Tasman, 17th century Dutch explorer, who originally named it Van Diemen's Land. Then on the mainland we have Victoria, named after Queen Victoria of England (1819-1901). Over the border we have New South Wales, which was the name given to the whole of Australia by Captain James Cook back in 1770. Further north we have Queensland... all very British. But west of the east coast we have South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory... not very British at all hehe. The Australian Capital Territory, with it's capital of Canberra, came later... annexed from NSW in 1908 to house the Federal Parliament. So now we have six states and two territories, the smallest of which is the ACT @ 2358 square kilometers or 910 square miles, about 3 times the area of New York City @ 305 square miles. The area of our smallest state, Tasmania (excluding territories), is 26,410 square miles or about the size of Ireland. Western Oz is the biggest state at over 2.5m square kilometers or a million square miles which is about twice the size of South Africa. If you're interested in the size of countries, check out the Wikipedia table here.

I don't think of myself as a New South Welshman, not at all, and certainly not British. I think of myself as an Aussie. Owyagoinmatenoworries.

Beeb time: UK Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted BP should not be blamed for the "completely wrong" decision to release the Lockerbie bomber. Claims have been made that BP lobbied for the release, but Mr Cameron said the Scottish government was responsible for freeing Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi. The Scottish government has denied any BP influence in the release last year. Standing alongside US President Barack Obama, Mr Cameron said he had seen no evidence the Scottish government - which made the decision to free terminally ill cancer patient Megrahi on compassionate grounds - had been "swayed" by lobbying from BP. The firm is already facing widespread criticism in the US for its handling of the enormous oil leak from one of its platforms in the Mexican Gulf. I must be missing something here... what the hell has the Lockerbie bomber got to do with the oil spill? A lesbian student in the US who was banned from bringing her girlfriend to her high school prom is to receive a $35,000 (£23,000) payout to settle a discrimination lawsuit. The school district in rural Mississippi cancelled the prom rather than let the lesbian couple attend. The student, Constance McMillen, 18, became a minor celebrity because of the row, which led to heavy media coverage. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed the suit on her behalf. It's all getting rather complicated, yes? Stephen Fry is to front a new BBC Two documentary series exploring language. He told the Radio Times that five-part series Planet Word would explore where language comes from, "how we speak it, the variations of it". Fry, who said language was one of "many passions", added that he loved Anglo-Saxon words that were "just themselves, like 'bundle' - what a lovely word". What a wonderful program that will be! Language fascinates me. And Fry is just the man for the job. 

On his latest Twitter entry, Fry uses some 'lovely' words to describe the latest Apple iPhone: The hooplah that surrounds the release of a new Apple product is enough to make many otherwise calm and balanced adults froth and jigger.

I've heard that the addition of extra letters such as 'u' in words like colour, labour, neighbour, etc, was the result of the English being jealous of the French (from whom they 'borrowed' tens of thousands of words). Apparently, the English thought their written language lacked sophistication compared to the French so they added extra vowels even though it didn't make any difference to pronunciation. Original English, used by Americans, spells such words as color, labor and neighbor. Dialogue, for example, sounds just the same if you spell it dialog. So there ya go.

I got a package from the Australian Government today... a bowel cancer testing kit. Charming. They want me to take small samples of my poo on two separate occasions and mail them back to a laboratory. I read the instructions and it's not something I'm looking forward to, I can tell you. Sheesh.

Do you know who invented the flush toilet? The Chinese... in 206 BC in fact. Thomas Crapper (b1836) on the other hand, after whom certain bodily functions are named, invented the ball cock, which is a mechanism used in flush toilets.

AND... get this, Aristotle wrote that flies have four legs and everyone believed him because he was highly respected and nobody bothered to count.

AND... the first person to discover the theory of relativity was... wait for it... Galileo. But Einstein wrote the formula in the early 20th century.

Yes, I've been watching snippets of QI with Stephen Fry on Youchewb.

Okies, Pro Carb is keeping my carby overnight to do another bench test tomorrow morning. They're replacing the choke cos "it's a bit funny". So I said, "A bit funny? It's hilariously funny!" Well, that's good... sounds like they're doing a thorough job. Then they'll send it back to Nissan for refitting. Hopefully, I'll get Bluey back later tomorrow. In fact, I just spoke to Shane at Nissan and it's all cool. Bluey should be running like a Swiss watch... or a Japanese one. AND IT'S ABOUT BLOODY TIME!

Actually, if Bluey is running really well I might seriously reconsider keeping it rather than selling it. I don't wanna go through all that bullshit again with another vehicle. We'll see.

And now I'm eating dinner and watching a program on telly about English hand-made farm cheeses that go back to the Roman times. Cheese is good stuff! Gary

July 20, 2010. It occurred to me writing a bit more of Love Is this morning that I'm gonna lose the plot if I don't organize my thoughts. So I'm listing a series of events as they will occur during the course of the story... who does what to whom and why, etc. It's like a road map. I'll know where I've been and I'll know where I'm going. That's the theory. It's all a bit dreary but a building needs a frame before the cladding is added - so I'm discovering.

Did I tell you I've started a new exercise routine? Yep... I'm getting on a bit in years so I figure it's time to take my fitness seriously. Here's a clip of the type of routine I do each morning before I answer email. It's a tad strenuous but what the hell... if you're gonna do something do it right.

Just answered the phone and it was a telemarketer. She was into home heating so I told her I rip up the floorboards and burn them in the fireplace. "It's a bit of a worry getting around the house because of all the holes," I added, then told her I rent. "Does the landlord worry about you burning the floorboards?" she asked. "No, not at all. The landlord is very understanding. He said he's gonna replace all the floorboards cos he realizes I need more firewood."

Well, here I am Bluey-less. I hope this latest carby reconditioning thing works. I'm tired of all the crap that's gone on for the past whatever months. Just phoned Kevin at Pro Carb and he's got the carby... Nissan sent it over this morning. "The boys are taking it apart right now." So it's a bit early to do an assessment but he did spot something wrong with it right away (can't remember what he said). It's a Nikki or something like that... standard Japanese carby sourced by Nissan. He asked me to phone back about 4 this afternoon. It's a good thing I live in Taree... carby specialists are few and far between in Oz and this one just happens to be in Taree.

Beeb time: On second thought, let's not. Nothing much going on at the mo.

I woke this morning about 5 and headed to the loo for a pee. The bathroom light was on (the loo is separate) so I figured Sue was in there doing something or other. Later, I heard voices... sounded like Lindsay doing the talking. So at about 9 this morning he told me that Sue had the front door open at 5:30am and was about to go shopping. Hello? Apparently she'd been in the bathroom earlier putting on the lippy and eyeliner in readiness for the shopping excursion. Yes... it's a good thing Lindsay spotted her before she toddled off up the road. It was still dark! The girl has lost the plot well and truly. Should I email her rellos in England and let them know about this latest incident? Or keep quiet? I don't wanna worry them unnecessarily. Maybe it's better not to say anything. One thing's for certain, though, this will be her last trip to jolly old.

You like lizards? We've got a few biggies in Oz hehe... 10 out of the 20 species of monitor lizards in the world live here. Check 'em out.

And if you've ever wondered how Aussie gay men, as well as their parents, cope in an often homophobic society, check out Australian Story.

Okies, phoned Pro Carb and it's all going well. The carby will be ready sometime tomorrow and will be returned to Nissan to be bolted back on. The techie said "we're just putting all the parts back together where they're supposed to be". So that gives you an idea of what the original mechanic did... buggered it up big time. A grand down the drain, thank you very much. I'm not expecting Nissan to finish the job tomorrow. If not Thursday will be fine. And then? Well, Bluey should be as good as new... almost. I'm actually looking forward to taking her for a bit of a spin to test her out. Compared to my old VW Kombi, Bluey's a rocket.

Justin's blog has an interesting feature... scroll down to the Zen of Sarcasm. Some of that stuff is brilliant wit.

And now, ladies and genitals, it's... well, whatever it is. I fell asleep and lost the plot. So I better cook dinner! Gary

July 19, 2010. Heathrow. Lindsay and Sue will arrive there by Virgin Airbus on August 10. So what do you visualize when you hear or see the word Heathrow? Not a row of heath, right? That's the thing about words... they can take on a meaning that is not literal.

Wrote a little more of Love Is this morning. It's taking me quite a while to become familiar with the characters and plot, and I suspect this is not gonna be a six month project unless I somehow manage to become well acquainted with all and sundry sooner than I expect. However, I am finding that certain things said by people on TV or in real life trigger ideas. For example, here I am telling the story of a black kid being adopted by a white couple - albeit a gay couple - and it occurred to me that we never hear of a white kid being adopted by a black couple. Interesting, yes? I'm also thinking that this story should have no cut-and-dried goodies and baddies. In other words, I think it would be far more interesting to have bigots and racists present a credible and valid point of view just to confuse matters hehe.

I think one of the major problems encountered by opposing groups is that they refuse to see the other side of an argument. How can we be tolerant if we don't at least try to understand an alternative point of view? Do we need to agree in order to understand and/or appreciate?

BTW, where does the expression "cut and dried" come from? Some people reckon it's from beef jerky but actually it goes back to the ancient practice of cutting wood and letting it dry before using it as firewood. Well... so they say.

Beeb time: A vaccine patch could cut out the need for painful needles and boost the effectiveness of immunisation against diseases like flu. Yes! My prayers have been answered! Hehe. I HATE needles!

Right, well we can forget Beeb time: ...the usual BP thing with the oil spill, shootings in Mexico, bombings in the Middle East, etc, etc. Same old, same old.

Okay, and now for something completely different. Remember cute little Johnny Crawford as Chuck Connors' son in the Rifleman? What ever happened to him? Find out here.

A warty type thing on my shin just fell off and bled. I asked the doc about it ages ago and he said it's just thickened skin. Anyway, since I've gotta see the specialist about removing the skin cancer on the other leg (I have two) I thought I'd ask him about removing the warty thingy but I don't need to now cos it fell off. I feel like I'm an old building or something, with bits coming loose. It's a worry.

I've been adding a few new photos to my favs. Wanna take a peek?

I'll be firing up Bluey soon to drive out to Nissan. It'll stay overnight so they can remove the carby first thing in the morning and deliver it to Pro Carb for reconditioning. I sure hope it all goes to plan! That's the trouble with trusting experts... they're not always as expert as we expect.

Back! Well, that was interesting. The young mechanic who drove me home in a brand new Nissan ute said he's got an old Nissan 4WD Patrol with a petrol 2.8 liter engine that develops 88kw, which makes Bluey's 75 (100hp) look quite respectable. But he's gonna instal a Holden V6 in it - basically a Buick engine. He grinned like a Cheshire cat when I said, "It sounds like you're having fun." Yeah... young blokes and their cars. He says he has a mate who works at Pro Carb and reckons they're good people, so that's comforting to know. Pro Carb does mostly high-end stuff, so Bluey's job won't rate too highly in the award stakes. That's cool. I just want the damn thing to work properly!

And here we are at the ass end of the day... din dins time. Bacon, eggs and chips tonight. Can't go wrong. Well, you can but not if you're clever like I am. Gary

July 18, 2010. Another one of those brain-dead days. Oh well...

TX Greg spotted an interesting vid on Youchewb about a tiny house on wheels. Now here's something you could tow behind Bluey....

Hmmm. Well, towing is out. Towing restricts the kind of out-of-the-way places I could go. Mind you, I won't be doing the 4WD thing either. I'm not that adventurous. So something self-contained is what I need. Wherever I happen to be, I'm home. At the moment, this house is the base, which means wherever I go I have to return here. This is where all my stuff is - bed, computer, kitchen, yadda yadda. So I figure if all my stuff is wherever I happen to be, no matter where that is, then I don't need to return any place. I'm there already. Yeah?

Yes, a very laidback day. Just back from shopping in anticipation of being without a car for a few days while Bluey undergoes a routine service and a carby refit. I sure hope that puts an end to all the buggerizing around over the past year or so. It's been a mini-nightmare.

Now here's a true-blue Aussie if ever I saw one! Definitely worth a giggle.

Beeb time: Testing of BP's newly capped Gulf of Mexico oil well is extended as plans to collect up to 80,000 barrels of crude a day by ship are announced. Very sensible... waste not want not. Jose Figueroa Agosto, one of the Caribbean region's most wanted alleged drug lords, is detained in the Puerto Rican capital San Juan. I still think if you focus on attacking demand you'll stifle supply. While demand remains strong, Agosto will simply be replaced by another drug lord. The UK is unlikely to follow France and ban Muslim women from wearing face-covering veils, the country's immigration minister says. It's a tricky problem. But my view is that if people wanna look like Muslims, smell like Muslims and dress like Muslims, they should live in Muslim countries. When in Rome, as the saying goes. Divers have found 30 bottles of champagne thought to pre-date the French Revolution on the Baltic seabed. When they opened one, they found the wine - believed to have been made by Clicquot (now Veuve Clicquot) between 1782 and 1788 - was still in good condition. The bottle - whose shape indicates it was produced in the 18th Century - has now been sent to France for analysis. Imagine that. 1788 was the year the First Fleet arrived in Oz to settle the country. Australia's main opposition leader Tony Abbott, has criticised the nation's new Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, after she called a snap general election. Mr Abbott said voters would not be "conned" by a leader who was running to the polls before she had established her credentials. "Julia Gillard's recent past is so littered with failures, including the political corpse of an elected prime minister," Mr Abbot said at a meeting of his conservative Liberal Party in Brisbane, Queensland. He added that Ms Gillard had so far failed to prove that she was able "to lead our nation". Well said, but whether or not the voting public takes heed is another matter

It's been a lovely day but as soon as the sun begins to set, it'll be chilly again. Sooooo, I think it'll be a good night to make a meatloaf and roast a few spuds and bit of pumpkin. Yeah? And make a bit of gravy. Can't go wrong with meatloaf (mine, anyway). And at less than $10 for 3 servings, plus leftovers for another 3 servings, that's damn good value...about $1.50 per serving. Is that cheap or what? Gary

July 17, 2010. What's it like to fly a Constellation? Well, here's a Youchewb vid that will give you an idea. It's an animated simulator thingy.

I still think birds have the edge. I watched a TV program one time that attached a small camera to an eagle, just behind its head, and the aerial footage was amazing. No huge array of complicated instruments or controls... just the bird and the air. Too easy. I sometimes watch pelicans here riding thermals and checking for signs of fish in the Manning River. They're incredibly graceful and, once airborne, use minimal effort to stay aloft. I also watch smaller birds. One time, a peewee dove off its perch on a power pole and plummeted headlong to the ground (where it had presumably spotted a grub). At a certain point just a few feet above the ground, with astonishing precision, it spread its wings, put on the brakes, and landed as gently as a feather. Amazing stuff.

And here it is almost 3pm. I've done very little today. The brain's on vacation. I did get involved in a little lemon picking, though. And I did wander around the garden in the sun, which was nice. It's actually a very pleasant day. Sometimes ya just gotta chill and take time out.

So let's do a quick Beeb: Oil company BP says there are no signs of leakage from its recently capped well in the Gulf of Mexico, a day after the flow was staunched. Good. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard calls a general election for 21 August, saying it will be a "close" race. I'm hoping it will be a landslide... but not in her favor. Tens of thousands of people are expected to take part in a landmark European gay rights rally in Poland's capital Warsaw. It is the first time the annual EuroPride parade is being held in Central and Eastern Europe. The event has attracted controversy in staunchly Roman Catholic Poland. So there are no gay Catholics? Gimme a break. The UK-built Zephyr solar-powered plane has smashed the endurance record for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The craft took off from the US Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona at 1440 BST (0640 local time) last Friday and is still in the air. Its non-stop operation, day and night, means it has now gone five times longer than the official mark recognised by the world air sports federation. The plane has been developed by the defence and research company Qinetiq. Its project manager, Jon Saltmarsh, said Zephyr would be brought down once it had flown non-stop for a fortnight. I think that's marvelous technology. Very exciting indeed! If you're interested, you can read the rest of the article here.

A further 3 or 4 years of Julia Gillard as prime minister of Australia? Spare me! Kevin Rudd was bad enough. I think the Labor Party has lost the plot. My concern, though, is that Tony Abbott is not popular enough to defeat Gillard. Abbot is not a bad bloke but he lacks charisma. Oz at the mo is lacking charismatic leadership. We've had it in the past with people like Bob Menzies, Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke but there's been a long drought. John Howard lasted 12 years in office despite being ho hum in the personality department. But his appeal was all about being good ol' Mr Reliable. He was also fortunate enough to have lacklustre competition. Voters are supposed to vote for party policies not personalities, but that's not always what happens. Strong personalities can strongly influence voting trends. At the mo, we don't have strong political personalities.

Fancy Gillard saying the vote will be a "close" race. What a load of bullshit. If that's what she really thinks, she wouldn't have called the election so soon! She's entitled to remain PM until next May! She's hoping to capitalize on her prime ministerial honeymoon before the public wakes up to what a dud leader they've got.

Averil doesn't like Gillard either. She thinks we've got too many female politicians in Australia already hehe. We have two female state premiers... one in New South Wales and another in Queensland. I don't have a problem with female leaders provided THEY don't have a problem with being female... if you know what I mean.

Yes, I am sexist. I don't like women and I don't like men. All the others are cool, though.

Lindsay's dad Ray phoned today just to chat. But Lindsay was asleep, so Ray chatted to me instead. He's 84 and still has all his teeth. "I only go to the dentist every 6 months to have them cleaned," he said. The woman he loved 60 years ago married someone else, so he enlisted in the army and served in Korea. "You never forget your first love. Her husband died so I got back in touch... and we still keep in contact." Lindsay is the product of his father's second love, apparently - which was a disaster. She ended up absconding. Ray is now married to his third love Mary, who doesn't care much for Lindsay. But it was interesting that Ray told me more about himself in a 5-minute phone convo than Lindsay has told me about his father in 10 years.

Okay, Satdee noit - fish 'n' chips. Most people go out on Fridee and Satdee noits. I used to but not anymore. Too expensive. Besides, why go out when I can spend a noit at 'ome with me best mate - me? Gary

July 16, 2010. I discovered that one of my mates on Red Bubble is a fire chief! I knew he was interested in fire trucks and stuff like that but I had no idea he was a fire chief. There ya go... now I know one. He's a 'Dutchie' and will be visiting Taree in September, so it looks like we'll get together for a beer or two. I hope he doesn't wanna drag me outta bed at 4am to take pics of sunrises or whatever. Bugger that. I'm far too civilized for all that masochistic nonsense.

British prejudice towards the US? It exists ya know.

I just had my quickest phone call so far. I was in the middle of making noodles for lunch when the phone rang. Me: Hello? Pause. Caller: Hello? My name is Veronica. Me: Bye. And that was it. You can pick a telemarketer a mile away. Ah! I just got an idea. Be right back.

Okay, just wrote a little ditty about a telemarketer named Veronica. Meanwhile, is it a good idea to undress for a polar bear? Interesting question.

Beeb time: BP says it has temporarily stopped oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico from its leaking well for the first time since 20 April. Temporarily doesn't sound too encouraging. The US Senate gives final approval to a bill overhauling the financial system, in a major victory for President Obama. McCain will be thrilled about that. An Arizona policeman has asked a federal court to overturn a state immigration law he says will force him to use racial profiling. The law requires police to question people about their immigration status if officers suspect the person is in the US illegally and if they have stopped them for a legitimate reason. Officer David Salgado says the law would force him to break federal laws. Once again, the thick plottens. An Iranian scientist who said he was kidnapped by the CIA has said he was subjected to extreme mental and physical torture by the Americans. Shahram Amiri, who has flown from the US to Tehran, also denied being heavily involved in Iran's nuclear programme. He disappeared last year and resurfaced this week in the Pakistani embassy in Washington asking to be repatriated. The US said he had been in the country "of his own free will" and denied he was tortured. I know who I'd prefer to believe but I'll reserve judgement until more facts are revealed. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has said he will commit the majority of his estimated $13.5bn (£8.8bn) fortune to philanthropy after his death. Mr Allen follows fellow co-founder Bill Gates in pledging billions of dollars to projects designed to help others. Why wait? World renowned Australian conductor Sir Charles Mackerras has died in London at the age of 84. Sir Charles joined the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as an oboist during World War II, before becoming its principal oboe in 1946. He was chosen to conduct the orchestra on the opening night of the Sydney Opera House in 1973. Born in New York State to Australian parents, Sir Charles was raised in Sydney but spent large parts of his adult life in the UK. Now he can teach the angels a thing or two

Here's a pic of the old Wingham Hotel I took back in April, 2008. It burned down last week. Check out the vid on Youchewb (in 2 parts). Mark, my barber, who cut my hair today, told me about the fire, which he thinks is suspicious. Say no more. I enjoyed a beer there. Such a lovely historic 19th century pub. The main bar featured a huge polished timber bar, hardly surprising since Wingham was a major timber town back in the old days, with many ships steaming up and down the busy Manning River, delivering goods and taking timber back to Sydney.

According to Mark, there was a dedicated group that drank at the Wingham pub, and another dedicated group that drank at the Australia pub... the two main pubs in Wingham. Each group would never drink at the other group's pub. No way. Hehe. So, now that the Wingham pub is out of action, they'll all have to drink at the same pub! Mark seems to think the situation will inevitably lead to rivalry and fisticuffs. It is a small bush town after all. Remember the movie Deliverance?

And now it's time to think about kitchen duties, T-bones for THEM and a chicken burger with corn fritters for me. That'll do. Gary

July 15, 2010. August winds have arrived early, it seems. I suppose sailors won't complain, but I'm not a sailor.

How long have I had my new Samsung cell phone? Three or four months? Have I received any calls yet? Nope. Have I made any calls yet? Nope. Hehe. So why did I buy it? Cos the old one had a dead battery. And that's my contribution to Irish logic for today. Actually, I love the Irish accent. Irish comedians are the only comedians who don't need to tell jokes. All they have to do is speak.

You like Irish jokes? Here's an oldie but a goodie.

John McCain once told an Irish joke in public, and said that in America the only ethnic jokes acceptable were Irish jokes. Now why is that? Well, I'll tell you why. The Irish have learned to laugh at themselves, and that's something the rest of the world could learn from. The rest of the world takes itself far too seriously, in my book, and it's about bloody time it lightened up. We're all funny... it's just that most of us don't recognize it.

There's the story of Murphy who was at a gathering of mates all having a drink when he conked out. And there he was dead as a doornail on the floor. Meanwhile, everyone carried on drinking and being merry. One of the guests, a priest, said, "You can't leave Murphy lying there on the floor! Have you no respect for the dead? Put him on a table!" Another guest said, "But we don't have a table!" So the priest said, "Well then, get three chairs and put them against the wall and lay Murphy's body on the chairs!" So the guest went to the others and said, "Father O'Brien wants three chairs for the deceased." So everybody raised their glasses and gave Murphy three cheers.

Beeb time: Preparations for a key pressure test of the blown-out Gulf of Mexico oil well are under way following a 24-hour delay, BP says. If BP had gone broke and been unable to fix the problem, who would have taken over? It'll be interesting to see how BP fares over the next few years. An Iranian nuclear scientist who claims he was kidnapped and taken to the US by the CIA arrives back in Tehran. I wouldn't want to be in his shoes. Can you imagine the questioning? Five US soldiers are killed in two separate attacks in Afghanistan, taking Nato losses to 11 over 24 hours. I keep hearing the allies saying that the war against the Taliban is being won. Maybe someone should tell the Taliban that. Argentina's Senate is debating a proposal to legalise gay marriage. The country's Chamber of Deputies has already approved same-sex marriage and has now sent the legislation to the Senate for approval. The law, which would also allow same-sex couples to adopt, has met with fierce opposition from the Catholic Church and other religious groups. Yes, well we all know about countries governed by religion. Apparently free will is okay provided it's not exercised. There is a "coherent and significant connection" between radiation from Vatican Radio aerials and childhood cancer, researchers have said. The Italian experts looked at high numbers of tumours and leukaemia in children who live close to Vatican Radio transmitters. Oops! Now if Benny has a direct line to you-know-who, why wasn't he warned? Bristol Palin, daughter of former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, is once again engaged to marry Levi Johnston, the father of her baby son. The pair were engaged previously but separated soon after the child's birth. The Palin family rose to prominence in summer 2008, when Republican presidential candidate John McCain plucked Sarah Palin, then governor of Alaska, from relative obscurity to be his running mate as he stood against Barack Obama. Not the smartest of moves, John. A billboard advert in the US state of Iowa that linked President Obama to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin was removed on Wednesday morning. The sign, which was funded by a group of local Tea Party activists, has been replaced with a community service announcement. Text on the sign had read: "Radical leaders prey on the fearful & naive." Whereas the Republicans don't. Yeah, right.

One of the reasons the Communist party (and other radical political parties) were never banned in Oz was because the established parties knew they would cut their own throats, which they did. And that's what the Tea Party is doing in the US. If you're an idiot, and you keep telling the world you're an idiot, they're inclined to believe you... sooner or later. That's also the reason we have compulsory voting in Oz. It prevents the radicals from getting a foothold due to voter apathy. We don't have 60%, we have 100%. Nazis and/or communists could never succeed in Oz.

Terry Everson is a Red Bubbler and a mate who's been around Oz. And I mean BEEN AROUND. His map of the places he's visited looks like it's been scribbled on by a hyperactive kid with an endless pencil. He's written a poem about his travels. Sheesh, and all I can do is dream. I haven't gone anywhere yet! It's a bloody disgrace. Oh well... keep dreaming. Terry's a great photographer as well.

Well, isn't it funny. I've never driven across the Nullarbor, nor been anywhere near it, and yet I wrote a little ditty about it. Been working on it for a few days, actually... trying to figure out an ending. Anyway, I just posted it on Red Bubble and got a "hearty laugh" response from a bloke who's crossed the Nullarbor several times. So what does that say about the power of imagination? 

And yes, it's that time of day again... I asked Lindsay earlier what he would like for dinner, T-bones or frankfurts, and he said frankies. So, it's frankies, mash and peas tonight. Fine with me. I like frankies! Gary

July 14, 2010. Love Is is taking shape, albeit slowly. But that's okay. This is a do or die mission and it's gotta be as good as I can make it. I spend about 2 hours of a morning each day on it. That'll do. No point in getting too anxious about it.

I went through an interesting exercise this morning, trying to justify the expense of shelling out $600 for a carby fix. I compared it to $400 for a 3-month power bill, and $370 for 2 weeks rent. $600 for a carby fix that will last several years doesn't seem so bad. However, I'm still pissed off about having wasted the best part of a grand on a lousy job in the first place by people who didn't know what they were doing, and were too fulla crap to admit it.

Anyway, cest la vie. What's done is done. Next!

I see that an automotive swap meet will be held at Nabiac on the 25th... motorcycles, hot rods, historic vehicles, etc. I'll make a note of it on my calendar. Bugger the exhibits... I'm only interested in taking piccies!

Beeb time: The US insists that an Iranian nuclear scientist who has turned up in the country is there voluntarily and is free to leave. The state department rejected claims by Tehran that Shahram Amiri, who surfaced at a Pakistani embassy building, had been abducted by US agents. Mr Amiri vanished more than a year ago. In June, three videos apparently showing him - and containing contradictory information on his whereabouts - emerged. He said in the first that he had been kidnapped by US and Saudi agents, in the second that he was living freely in Arizona, and in the third that he had escaped from his captors. Right... so take your pick. Microsoft has shown off its "virtual human" that reacts to a person's emotions, body movements and voice. Milo, as he is known, is designed for use with the firm's hands-free Xbox 360 motion controller called Kinect. The technology is the brainchild of veteran UK games designer Peter Molyneux. Mr Molyneux said that he wanted to create a character "that seemed alive, that would look me in the eyes, and feel real". Ooer! That's scary! But also fascinating. Prepare to be blown away by this video. Six New Orleans police officers have been charged in connection with the fatal shooting of civilians on a bridge in the days after Hurricane Katrina. According to the US justice department indictment, four police officers opened fire on a family on the east side of the bridge on 4 September 2005, killing a 17-year-old boy and injuring three other people. Minutes later, officers were involved in a second shooting on the west side of the bridge, resulting in the death of Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old man with learning difficulties, the indictment says. If convicted over the deaths of civilians, the four face maximum sentences of life in prison or the death penalty. They also face charges related to a conspiracy to cover up what happened on the bridge and a conspiracy to file charges against two of those injured in the incident, claiming that they had fired at police. Very serious stuff indeed. A US appeals court has struck down a government policy that banned the broadcasting of profanity, ruling that the rule is unconstitutional. The policy was drawn up in 2004 and meant that broadcasters could be fined if indecent words went on air. The court said the FCC's (Federal Communications Commission) policy had a "chilling effect" on broadcasters. The many media outlets that challenged the rule said that they were satisfied with the ruling. The court said banning all "patently offensive" references to sex, sexual organs and excretion without a clear definition of what is considered offensive, effectively chills speech and creates an atmosphere of fear among America's broadcasters. Well, what do we want? The real thing or a sanitized view of events? A drunk man who climbed into a crocodile enclosure in Australia and attempted to ride a 5m (16ft) long crocodile has survived his encounter. The crocodile, called Fatso, bit the 36-year-old man's leg, tearing chunks of flesh from him as he straddled the reptile. He received surgery to serious wounds to his leg and is recovering in hospital, police say. He had been chucked out of a pub in the town of Broome for being too drunk. An average of two people are killed each year in Australia by aggressive saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to 7m (23 ft) long and weigh more than a tonne. Nuff said. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says Iran is "moving closer" to having the potential to create nuclear weapons. It is one of the first times Moscow has publicly recognised that Iran might be moving towards a nuclear weapon. When the Russians start to worry, it's a worry

I think I mentioned before that one of Bluey's front mud flaps hadn't been secured properly (thanks Don). It worked loose and got scrunched by the tire. It was one of those universal generic ones. I went back to the auto shop. No stock. So I went to another auto shop. Nissan branded (not genuine) mud flaps for $10 a pair. Woohoo! I'll have Nissan fit them next week. So then I got lost. Typical me. And I ended up behind the old abandoned Peters Ice Cream factory just north of Taree. Piccies time! Some dog barked at me while I took pics but I told him to settle... no biggie, mate. I'm not a threat. Chill. Then his owner shouted something in a gruff voice and I thought, "Oops! I'm in 'Deliverance' country! Better get outta here."

Peters, by the way, is as well known in Oz as Marble Slab Creamery is in the US. Streets and Peters were the two big brands of ice cream in Oz when I was a kid. And here's an interesting snippet: The Chinese are generally credited for creating the first ice creams, possibly as early as 3000 BC. The Roman emperor Nero ordered ice to be brought from the mountains and combined with fruit toppings. Marco Polo is popularly cited for introducing these tasty concoctions to Italy.

Yes, folks, just when you think you've photographed everything in town, there's more. Back roads... that's the key. Keep getting lost. But watch out for guard dogs. And don't forget to bring the camera! Gary

July 13, 2010. One of those days that got away from me. Whoosh. I checked out the carburetor specialist bloke this morning. Yes, he can do it. No he won't dismantle the carby. Get someone else to remove it, send it to me, and I'll fix it. Then get them to collect it and bolt it back on. Busy, ya know. Hmmm. It's interesting that Pro Carb is in Taree but they don't do a helluva lotta local work. They get jobs from all over Oz, including Tasmania. So at first I thought I'd get Don the mechanic to dismantle it since he was the one who stuffed it up in the first place. Then I decided I really didn't want to be involved in a confrontation and blame game. $800 down the drain - forget it and move on. Next, I phoned the Nissan bloke Shane. He accepted some of the blame for the carby stuff-up so he'll dismantle it for free and send it off to Pro Carb. That will happen next week. $200 for the Nissan 10,000km service and about $600 for the carby job. $800 all up - and no car for about 2 days. 10,000km service? I've only covered 500km! But I'll get it done anyway. I like the smell of fresh oil.

FL Josh wrote to say he disabled his email spam protection and asked me to send another reply. It bounced again. He also said that spammers are now taking advantage of the disabled filter and crap is arriving every 10 minutes. I don't have that problem. Windows Mail has been adjusted to automatically receive mail only once a day instead of every hour or whatever. That means I'm not pestered by unwelcome email. Every so often, I check my ISP's email server to see what's in my mailbox BEFORE it's downloaded to my computer. If it's spam or whatever, I delete it... or at least check if I'm not sure. I can use my ISP's mail server to read, reply, delete, and all the rest of it. It's only when I'm satisfied that mail is safe that I download it to my hard drive. Spam never gets anywhere near my comp. Gary

July 12, 2010. A Brisbane bloke who is doing a university course on professional photography, and who is SERIOUSLY into the art (even using film), favorited one of my shots this morning. I mean, I took this pic using my little Fuji compact at the local supermarket. I spotted a display of red capsicums (bell peppers) and thought 'they look nice', whipped out the little Fuji, pressed the shutter button and carried on with my shopping. No biggie. No post processing, no special effects, no nuttin. Straight from camera to online. And yet this bloke reckons I'm talented. Hehe. Well, bugger me. So I suppose it must have something to do with being able to spot a good shot as opposed to being an expert photographer, which I'm not. Hmmm.

FL Josh wrote to ask if I'd followed his instructions and contacted earthlink about my replies to his emails bouncing. Yes, I did, Josh, and they sent an automated reply with ticket ID SE02632633. But I tested the reply to your email addy again this morning and it still bounces. Seems like earthlink is busy at the mo.

Wrote more of Love Is this morning and it's getting easier to write in the third person. I've arrived at the point where Stephanie invited Bobby to walk her home from school, and Bobby's chat with Richard in the kitchen. Tomorrow I'll visit Stephanie's house to see what her parents had to say about chatting to a black boy. Hopefully, I'll get into a comfortable rhythm. At the mo though, it's smallish tentative steps... feeling my way as it were.

So why aren't I at the carburetor shop? Because it's raining, that's why. Rain, rain, rain. Bleh.

Beeb time: Andres Iniesta scores with four minutes left in extra time to give Spain their first World Cup with a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands. And that's it for another 4 years. From what I understand, watch out for Germany next time. Personally, I like darts... you just stand on the one spot and throw things. None of this running around business and kicking things. At least 23 people, including one American, have been killed in twin blast in the Ugandan capital Kampala. It is not known what caused the blasts, which police said went off at a rugby club and at a restaurant, as football fans watched the World Cup final. "These bombs were definitely targeting World Cup crowds," Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura said. Insane. What else can you say? Human shit exists, and that's the way it is I'm afraid. Thousands of tourists and scientists on Chile's Easter Island see a total solar eclipse as it crosses the South Pacific. I can't remember having seen one. If I did, it certainly couldn't have been too memorable. Kylie Minogue has claimed a UK chart-topping album for the fifth time with her latest release Aphrodite. The Australian pop star scored her first number one album in the same week 22 years ago. Maybe there's something wrong with me... I think her face is as hard as nails. The Vatican has seen its third consecutive financial loss, with a 4.1m euros (£3.4m; $5.2m) deficit in 2009. Jesus was poor and it didn't bother him. In fact, unless I'm mistaken, Jesus didn't even have a job. The head of an aboriginal warrior who died resisting the British colonisation of Western Australia has been laid to rest near the city of Perth. Yagan was killed by a settler in 1833 and his severed head sent to England where it was displayed in a museum. Leaders of the Noongar tribe succeeded in having the head repatriated in 1997, and have now buried it in a traditional ceremony in a memorial park. A century after Yagan's death, Britain resisted colonization by Nazi Germany but they weren't treated as objects of curiosity with severed heads put on display. How disgusting. China's enigmatic car industry. An interesting article that you can read here

Speaking of hard-as-nails females, I really don't believe that Australia's current PM - the broad-bottomed, thin-lipped, red-haired Julia Gillard - can last beyond the next election which appears to be imminent. I reckon the Australian Labor Party has lost the plot. First they promoted "Kevin 07", and then dumped him after he failed to live up to expectations. Then they installed Ms Thin Lips. The movers and shakers of the labor party are a bunch of desperates looking for something to capture public imagination. Sorry, guys. You're failing miserably. Anyway, it'll be interesting to observe the game as the next election draws nearer. Gillard or Abbot? I suspect the Greens will benefit by default despite their leader Bob Brown being as boring as batshit.

You wanna checkout my backyard? Take a look. It's pretty cool.

Just checked my old Kodak digital camera, the one I bought in 2002 and which failed the other day when I tried to shoot a movie of the steam loco. Seems the batteries are dead even after I charged them overnight. Oh well... So I tried fresh batteries and it worked. Maybe there's a limit to how many times you can charge rechargables. Bleh. I can tell you I've had more success with Energizer batteries than Duracell, if that means anything.

One of these days I might get a dedicated video camera. I'm not crazy about movies. I mean, the Mona Lisa is not a movie. Furthermore, it wouldn't improve the painting if it were. Movies are okay in certain situations but I think I prefer stills. You can't frame a movie and hang it on a wall. Or put it in a book.

And here we are... din dins time. I'm gonna try salmon fish cakes tonight. Tasmanian salmon. Seems a bit odd but I'll give it a shot. Tasmania is famous for its trout which are not indigenous... they were introduced during the 19th century and thrived. Same thing happened in New Zealand. But Atlantic salmon? Well, as they say in the Northern Territory tourism ads, you'll never never know if you never never go. Gary

July 11, 2010. Same story, different approach. I started re-writing chapter 1 of Love Is in third person this morning and it took a bit of getting used to... writing from an observer's perspective rather than the main character's. But that's okay. I'll get used to it. In fact, I might even get to like it!

One of my Red Bubble pics got featured by a group this morning, which I thought was rather jolly. It's weird how pics I think are good don't get featured or favorited, and yet those I think are pretty ordinary do. Oh well...

Now here's a pic that's had over 40,000 views, 4,500 favoritings and sold numerous prints. And while you're there, check out my latest favorites as well. This digital age is just wonderful, coupled with the internet and high-res computer screens. Until fairly recently, I've only ever owned one camera at a time but now I own four! I know that purists are still into film but... well... I'm lazy. Not only that, digital cameras are getting better by the minute.

Beeb time: An operation begins to fit a tighter cap over a blown-out oil well in BP's latest bid to contain the leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile... Russian-owned submersibles would be able to cap the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, the captain of one of the vessels has said. The skipper was speaking as two of the subs - which can dive to 6,000m - started a campaign of exploration at the bottom of Lake Baikal in Siberia. He added that there was still time for the subs to help BP with the disaster. Fancy that! The red cavalry to the rescue! Okay... not quite cavalry. Europe's Rosetta space probe flies past the Asteroid Lutetia, returning a stream of scientific data for analysis. Human beings are amazing, yes? Nature trying to understand itself. The southern Californian city of Laguna Niguel has been enjoying an annual ritual, in which locals and visitors bare their bottoms at passing trains. For 30 years, the city has hosted "Mooning Amtrak" as crowds line a road along the railway tracks, drop their trousers every time a train rolls by. Up to 10,000 people take part, and visitors are encouraged to leave their cars at home and arrive by train. Local legend has it the tradition began in 1979, after a bar room bet. A drinker at the Mugs Away Saloon, which stands directly across the road from the railway, offered to buy a drink for anyone who would run outside and moon at the next train. One customer took him at his word, and a ritual was born. Thank God for culcha. What would we do without it?

Lazy day today... bit of this and that... nothing worth reporting. Tomorrow, I'll take Bluey to the carburetor people and check out the scene. I guess they'll want to keep Bluey for a while, maybe overnight. It's a bit of walk back home but the forecast is for mostly fine/mild weather... all week, in fact. It'll be good to have Bluey running like she's SUPPOSED to run. I can't believe I wasted a grand on a stuff-up by people who should know better.

I think I need cheering up with something funny. No, make that hilarious. Remember Victor Borge? Well, that did the trick... broke me up completely.  Oh, let's have some more. Victor is an absolute hoot! If you're in the mood for more of Victor, go for it

Okay, I better cook for the troops... I'm late! Gary

July 10, 2010. Ohio Jace wrote about Love Is: Your story is going to be interesting to see how you resolve the various taboos. It took me a while to realize the parents were a gay couple even after you introduced them early on. You said Kerry and my mind read Carrie. Also you said you wanted to write a story peeps would want to read. Interracial relationships, gay marriage, gay adoption, or gays in general probably would not appeal to mainstream readers. I thought attitudes were changing, but with all the recent events in Merry-ka and Canada I have changed my mind. If anything we are going backwards. The above probably won’t help you much hopefully others will give you better critiques.

I appreciate your thoughts, Jace, and I agree with them. Not mainstream. But it's the resolving of taboos that interests me. Not that I wanna preach. Basically, I just wanna present various attitudes and let the reader decide which way to lean. But your comments have convinced me that the story should be written in the third person rather than the first. Bobby only gets to see what he sees, and therefore presents a fairly one-sided point of view. I feel more comfortable with first person, but writing the story in the third person means I can go into other people's houses and spy on what they're doing and thinking. It will also help to stretch the story because I'll have far more material to work with. I'm also curious to know what goes through the mind of a bigot and how he justifies his attitude. However, the main theme will be the romance between Bobby and Stephanie, and their struggle to overcome adversity. So that's where I am at the mo. Third person it will be.

BTW, Jace... you were supposed to take a while to realize that Richard and Kerry were a gay couple. I purposely misled you. I Googled names that could apply to either sex. :o)

The other thing is this: I can normally churn out a book in 6 months. This one will probably take longer. BUT I NEED THE BUCKS! So I'd better make it work. Actually, I should qualify that: sure, I need the bucks but I'm not a formula writer and I could never write anything PURELY for monetary gain - like those Mills & Boon stories. Eeek! For one thing, M&B heroes don't say "eeek" and I do. So there.

So what does a bloke do on a lovely sunny day which is quite warm? The washing, of course. So the old Simpson is chugging away again. Swish, swish, swish. While out in the backyard, I checked the camelia tree. It's loaded with hundreds of buds, a few of which have blossomed early, and a couple of which have fallen to the ground. They do that. Hang around for about a week and then boom. But one still looked gorgeous, covered with this morning's dew, so I took it inside, found a black background, and then photographed it in the sunlight on the front veranda.

Beeb time: Fourteen people exchanged in Vienna, in the biggest spy swap since the Cold War, are flown to Russia and the US. Jimmy Bond lives on! Fugitive gunman Raoul Moat is believed to have shot himself after a six-hour stand-off with armed officers. In a statement, Northumbria Police said "no shots were fired by police officers" and it "appears the suspect shot himself". "Sorry, officer, I thought I was a bloody copper!" Former Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt, who spent six years in captivity, asks Colombia for $6.8m in damages. Crook job but the pay's pretty cool. The Chinese government has renewed Google's licence to operate in China, the internet giant has said, ending a long-running stand-off between the two. As an internet user, I'd be pissed off BIG TIME if Oz banned Google. A anti-whaling activist from New Zealand who was handed a suspended sentence for obstructing the annual Japanese whale hunt has vowed to continue his crusade. What I'd really like to see is whales crusading for human rights. Maybe they can put bumper stickers on their tails or something. North Korea has hailed as a "victory" a UN Security Council statement that condemns the sinking of a South Korean warship but avoids blaming Pyongyang. Correspondents say the omission of blame helped ensure China's support. Oh really? Well, how about that! A painting that depicts the body of Nelson Mandela undergoing an autopsy has been condemned by South Africa's ruling party. But artist Yiull Damaso says his aim is to make people confront death. "Nelson Mandela is a great man, but he's just a man... The eventual passing of Mr Mandela is something that we will have to face, as individuals, as a nation," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme. Yes, he does have a point, unpalatable as it is. An octopus credited with psychic powers has predicted that Spain will defeat the Netherlands in the World Cup final. The German zoo animal also predicted a win for Germany against Uruguay in the third place match. He has so far correctly forecast every World Cup game involving the national team. He predicts by choosing a mussel from one of two boxes bearing the flags of the competing nations. Hmmmm. Next! The Pentagon has begun surveying US troops about their attitudes and behaviour toward gay comrades. The survey of roughly 400,000 service members comes as the US military weighs ending a ban on gays serving openly. It asks troops if the presence of people thought to be gay has affected morale and combat performance. It also asks if they have showered with gay comrades and whether they would attend social functions if soldiers' same-sex partners were invited. Yeah, right, and they're all gonna be honest. "Sometimes I masturbate fantasizing about me and Sgt Murphy!" The Australian government is conducting an independent review of websites due to be blocked by its controversial internet filter. The country's Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, said the review was needed to see if the scheme "reflects current community standards". The project has attracted widespread criticism over what is perceived by some as government censorship. Govt censorship is a no-no. Full stop. Drinking 500ml of beetroot juice a day can significantly reduce blood pressure, UK research suggests. The key beneficial ingredient appears to be nitrate, which is also found in green, leafy vegetables. 500ml of beetroot juice? No thanks... I'll take a pill.

Winter has shorter days, ya know, and they're not as warm. So I hope my washing dries before sundown. I left it a bit late. Grrrr. I've got a dryer but I never use it... well, maybe 4 or 5 times in 10 years. Hehe. When I was a kid, we had a clothes line that stretched from one side of the yard to the other - about 35'. It was supported by poles fitted with a cross bar at each end. When it was empty, my younger bro and I used it as a net when we played shuttle cock. But then my dad got all ambitious and installed a rotary clothes hoist, and flicked the old clothes line. The hoist was cool because we could use it like a merry-go-round. Wheeeeeeeeeeeee! The rotary clothes line was invented in the 50s by a bloke in South Australia, and called the Hills Hoist. They're still in use today, including by yours truly.

And now to car salesmen... well, some of them. Oregon Richie sent this link to a series of Badger Car Commercials.

Sue's had an interesting day. She just emerged from the bedroom at 2:30pm to go to the toilet. She went to the toilet earlier today as well... sometime this morning. In a couple of hours she'll get up and watch a bit of TV. Then she'll have dinner at about 6, and go back to bed at about 8:30. How's that for a hectic life? Linday's is not much better. He sleeps most of the day. Mind you, I'm not complaining. The less I have to do with them the better.

I had to watch this  lip-sync vid again. It's a riot and I just love those kids. It puts a smile on my face when I'm feeling a bit dreary. I read some of the comments and cracked up totally when I saw "what else do they do with their lips?" hehe. Hmmm.

FL Josh recently commented on a John Cleese vid about creativity and problem solving. I think he - and you - will be impressed with this one too. It's about the fear of making mistakes.

And now, ladies and genitals, may I introduce John Cleese to explain the workings of the human brain in simple, basic, layman's terms that we can all understand. :o)

Yes, it's THAT time of day again... vittles for the dingalings hehe, and some for me as well. Junk night tonight... meat pies and chips, and scrambled eggs and chips for HER because she doesn't like pasty - pasr=9 - PASTRY. And a couple of slices of tomato to make it look restauranty. And no, not all the washing dried so I had to leave some of it on the line. I just hope that some drunk on the way home from the pub doesn't steal it at 2 in the morning. Gary

July 9, 2010. Yesterday was one of those days you don't wanna repeat. I spent almost all day trying to put a movie together of the steam loco using AVS and it failed. It was also pay/bills and shopping day so that added to the chaos. Eventually, I ditched AVS... deleted all AVS files and programs from my computer, and used Windows Movie Maker to put the vid together for Youchewb. AVS doesn't like my attitude but bugger 'em. If it's all too hard I don't wanna know about it.

I'm more relaxed today, and wrote a little more of Love Is now that I'm kinda more familiar with the characters and plot. When I spat the dummy the other day about how difficult it was to write this story, Oregon Richie wrote and said "you know as much about a Kenyan teen with gay parents as anyone else..." Hehe. Yeah, I guess he's right. So it's a matter of being patient and not rushing into things. I have a habit of expecting everything to fall into place in 5 minutes.

Oh yes, about curves in railway tracks. While waiting for the 3237 on Wednesday, I wandered up to a bloke wearing a yellow safety vest and asked him. He was most obliging, and pointed to the tracks alongside the platform. He explained that the older rail sections were bolted together at the joins, but the more modern ones were welded - hand-welded in situ. He also explained that normal lengths of rail were flexible to a degree, and could be bent slightly to accommodate a curve, something like the way timbers are bent during boat construction. All lengths of rail are manufactured straight, and not pre-fabricated with curves. If the inner rail of a curved section needs to be shortened a little, a piece is simply cut off. So there ya go... simple. He added that short pieces of rail were not flexible... only the longer sections. Now whether or not he was having a lend of me is debatable, but that's what he said. And I DID see the difference between the bolted sections of rail and the welded ones. Apparently, welding is the way they do things these days.

Beeb time: The US deports 10 Russian agents as part of an exchange deal with Moscow, which will free four prisoners. Funny business... kinda like playing Monopoly. Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas has ended his hunger strike after the government announced it was freeing 52 political prisoners. Mr Farinas, who has been refusing food for more than 130 days, was reported to have been near death in recent days. "This confrontation...has no winners or losers, only Cuba, our nation, has won," he said. How many of us would risk our lives for a cause? The authorities in Iran announce that a 43-year-old woman who was convicted of adultery will not now be stoned to death. How very charitable of them. And how despicably barbaric of them if they had. BP has been given 24 hours to answer questions on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the US government's incident commander said. Adm Thad Allen sent a letter to the oil giant's managing director saying the company must hand over "detailed plans and timelines" on stopping the leak. I can't help thinking that if you're gonna keep a pit bull in the backyard you shouldn't be surprised if it mauls the kiddies. The missing former lover of a top Brazilian football star was strangled and then fed to dogs, police say. Eliza Samudio, 25, was a former girlfriend of Bruno Fernandes, goalkeeper for Flamengo, Brazil's most popular club. How gruesome. Germans stood in stunned silence outside a crowded bar in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg district as Spain's Carles Puyol delivered his bullet header in the 73rd minute of the World Cup semi-final. Tears welled up in one fan's eyes and an elderly man thrust his fist through the air and shouted "Wie schade!" (What a shame!). Another woman hid her face behind her hands and asked her friend in disbelief: "Was that a goal or was I imagining things?" Sadly, she wasn't, and after Puyol's goal the young German squad struggled to regain momentum. Germany's dream of reaching the final quickly fizzled out. And now they know how the Socceroos felt. Women who wear revealing clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes, an Iranian cleric says. Hojjat ol-eslam Kazem Sediqi, the acting Friday prayer leader in Tehran, said women should stick to strict codes of modesty to protect themselves. "Many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray and spread adultery in society which increases earthquakes," he explained. What he failed to explain is why earthquakes are less frequent in western countries where codes of modesty are much freer. Doh!

Right... well, I'm doing chicken schnitzels tonight... with cheese in the middle, and I'm making WITH MY OWN LITTLE HANDS potato scallops... thinly sliced potato dipped in HOME MADE batter (flour, egg yolk, salt, milk, garlic, pepper) and shallow fried. Yum! I love crispy on the outside and soft in the center, which may explain why I like Oregon Richie. On the other hand, FL Josh is crispy all the way through and I like him too. He gets a bit crusty sometimes but you gotta expect that from a grumpy old legal eagle.

So, another weekend coming up. They're like weeds. Boing, boing, boing. But at my age, they're weeds with a message that says, "Hi, Gary... the inevitable is getting closer." Now that's a message I'm not terribly thrilled to hear about. But what can a fossil do? Well, make the most of it, that's what. Get the ol' digit out and get cracking. Make every day count and all that shit.

Now where did 'get cracking' come from? Probably cracking the whip. Gary

July 7, 2010. Above the din of traffic outside, I just heard a steam loco whistle. It's 9:01 and the 3237 is right on schedule for it's first trip of the day. There's another at 11 and another at 1 (which I'll be on) and then the last at 3pm. Tomorrow she'll head back to Sydney. Pretty amazing, huh? That old girl has been huffing and puffing for almost 120 years. In fact, she'd been steaming along for 10 years already before the Wright Bros did their heavier-than-air thing.

I hope I get some good pics. It's a cloudy day so far with a sprinkle of rain. Bleh. Yesterday, the forecast said possible shower, today it says showers, as in 90%. No heavy rain, though. Oh well, ya git what ya git. Weather forecasting is a business where you can get it wrong but still keep your job. Pretty cool, huh?

One of the questions I'd like to ask someone is how they make curves when they lay rail tracks. The inside track would need to be slightly shorter than the outside track, yes? Are the tracks slightly curved during the manufacturing process, or are the curves so slight that straight rails will do the job if laid a certain way? I know that model railways have pre-fabricated curved tracks but I'm not sure the same thing applies to the grown-up ones.

Speaking of grown-ups, the people who operate the vintage steam locos are all enthusiasts - volunteers. Big kids, basically. Hehe. They just love playing with trains. I wonder if today's locos and trains will have the same kind of charisma in 100 years from now. For me, diesel locos simply don't have that special romance factor. Maybe that will change as various means of transport became more sophisticated and relegate the current ones to novelty status.

Well, better get the Beeb outta the way before I do the loco thing: US President Obama urges Israelis and Palestinians to resume direct peace talks before a settlement freeze expires in September. I wonder sometimes if that's rather like trying to get cats and dogs to agree on a peaceful settlement. It can and does happen, of course, so let's hope for the best. British troops in Afghanistan are to hand over responsibility for the Sangin area of Helmand province to US forces, the BBC understands. Defence Secretary Liam Fox is expected to tell MPs on Wednesday the move could happen by the end of the year. Mr Fox is expected to announce Britain will concentrate on Helmand's busy central belt, leaving the north and south to the US. Of the 312 UK deaths in Afghanistan since 2001, 99 have taken place in Sangin, currently home to 40 Commando Royal Marines. I heard an Aussie soldier say that if there were to be a withdrawal, all the effort over past years and all the lives lost would be a complete waste. The former SS soldier and Nazi war crimes suspect Adolf Storms has died before he could be brought to trial. Storms, who was 90 years old, was on the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of most-wanted Nazi suspects. He was accused of the massacre of at least 57 Jewish forced labourers in Austria at the end of World War II. Cheated by the other Grim Reaper. Police in the Thai resort of Pattaya have questioned Russian musician Mikhail Pletnev over allegations of sex with an under-age boy. Confronted by police in a restaurant, Mr Pletnev could be heard saying: "I never had sex with a boy." The Grammy award-winning pianist and conductor was released on bail after questioning and a search of his home. His orchestra said no charges had been brought against him, he had not been arrested and he was not in custody. So apart from making international headlines and being questioned by police, there's no problem. Right? The Queen has called for a united approach to tackle global terrorism during her first speech to the United Nations in New York for 53 years. She urged all countries to "work together as hard as ever" to fight world problems like climate change in her address to the General Assembly. I can't help thinking that Betty's messages would carry more weight if she'd only lighten up a bit and get a sense of humor. She's about as dry as the gin her mother used to drink. A judge has ordered Men At Work to hand over royalties from the 1983 hit single Down Under after earlier ruling they had plagiarised a children's song. The Australian band must pay 5% of money earned from the song since 2002 as well as future royalties. Larrikin Music, which owns the copyright to Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree, had sought 60% of royalties. "I consider the figures put forward by Larrikin to be excessive, overreaching and unrealistic," Federal Court Justice Peter Jacobson said in his ruling. I agree. Nobody sang Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree at the 2000 Olympics, and if they had they would have been shot. 

Now there's something to ponder. Should allied troops be withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan in order to save more lives? Or should the efforts and sacrifice of those who have died already be trashed and wasted? My own view is that we owe our fallen comrades big time. I'm aware of arguments to the contrary, such as quit while you're ahead and don't throw good money after bad, but as I said... it's something to ponder.

I've been back from the 3237 excursion for almost 2 hours, sorting through the pics and dumping duds. The movie didn't work for some reason, but I took quite a lot of stills which tell the story pretty well. It was bedlam... photographers everywhere. I was chastised by a woman at one stage because I was standing in front of a bunch of kids and blocking their view hehe. But everyone with a camera has only one priority... GET THAT PIC!

It's getting a bit late now, so I'll end this waffle and start getting the album organized. Right... coming up to 7pm and all done. Check out the photo album here. Gary

July 6, 2010. Last night on one of my fav shows, Talking Heads, there was an interview with Aussie author Sue Woolfe. Fascinating stuff. Here's an excerpt: It's an immensely rich place, the imagination, immensely rich. You forget where you are, who you are, you forget time, you lose self-consciousness. It's an extraordinary state... She went on to talk about the trance writers succumb to; a place where you're free to express whatever you want. And she said it's important during the writing process to believe that you're never going to share it with anybody because that would lead to compromise.

When Stephen Fry wrote his latest book he took time out from Twitter and other commitments such as TV, and went abroad to a private place where he could lock himself away and focus uninterrupted on his writings. Lucky him. I don't have that luxury, so I have to steal a little time when I can from the daily L&S routine. Actually, there was a bloke on TV last night who said he bought a special program that locked out all access to email, social websites and other internet distractions for about 5 hours a day so that he could attend to other matters.

So I'm having second thoughts about Love Is. What the hell do I know about some adopted Kenyan teen with gay parents? Write about what you know, Rashi used to say. That's all very well, but what do readers wanna read? And what do publishers wanna publish? Hehehe. I just had an idea. A Guide To Telling The World To Piss Off. How about that for an idea? No problem writing that one... I could rabbit on for ages and never suffer from writer's block. I'm absolutely seething with frustration and disappointment with life as well as the idiot people who populate this planet. Yes, I could vent my spleen and have a ball doing it! And maybe even make a few quid in the process. Grumpy! That's the key! Bitter and twisted! Yes, how deliriously delicious! That's me! I don't wanna write about love and all that bullshit, I wanna write about the crap that pisses me off! Oh, yes... how simple. How sensible. Why didn't I think of that before?

BUT... it's gotta be comedy. When did you last see Donald Duck laugh? He never laughed. He was always mad as hell. Yosemite Sam? He'd shoot you as soon as look at you. Sylvester the Cat? Constantly grumpy. And who was that farmer who was always chasing that "wascally wabbit" with a  shotgun? See what I mean? Forget all that romance shit. There's no fun in that. Hitler didn't stand in front of his flock and crack jokes. He got mad! He shouted and spat venom! And the flock thought he was fabulous! So that's the key.

Ya know, I've been sitting here for hours wondering what the hell I'm doing, and then got terribly depressed. And I've suddenly realized I've been doing it all wrong. I've been thinking how I can please people. Wrong! No more Mr Nice Guy. The real GK is about to emerge. Remember the Mr Sheen jingle? Here's my rearrangement of the lyrics.

Oh Mr Spleen, Oh Mr Spleen
let's be horrible and nasty and so mean
let us be a major pain, always willing to complain
bitching constantly each day with Mr Spleen

Yes, I feel better already. Jeez, imagine that... an endless source of material! And I don't even have to invent it! Ya see, dear Breth, most comedians don't talk about what's funny, they talk about what's not funny. They talk about what pisses them off. And audiences lap it up. They laugh at the things that really annoy them! How's that for weird? Okay, now that I've solved that little problem let's move on...

Beeb time: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu travels to Washington for White House talks, a day after the Gaza blockade was eased. Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall? The Thai cabinet is to decide on whether to extend emergency rule for another three months across much of the country. I don't get it. They're almost all Thai, right? In Oz we've got the whole box and dice, and yet we get along just fine. Ghana's national football team has arrived back home from the World Cup in South Africa to a rapturous welcome. Thousands of dancing and singing fans welcomed the players - known as the Black Stars - at Accra's airport. "You've really held high the flag of Ghana and the entire African continent," Deputy Sports Minister Nii Nortey Duah told the players. Yes, I can image how proud they are, and I'm very happy for them. It's a good thing. The remains of US-born chess champion Bobby Fischer have been exhumed in Iceland to establish a paternity claim. Lawyers for nine-year old Jinky Young and her mother, Marilyn, who had a relationship with Fischer, claim she is entitled to Fischer's fortune. So much for Rest In Peace. Sheesh. The world's tallest tent is opening to the public in the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan. Designed by the British architects Foster & Partners, the Khan Shatyr Entertainment Centre in the capital Astana is 150m (490ft) high. That'll do. I'll have one of those. Might need a bit of help erecting it, though.

I had a largish tent one time and camped at some place on the south coast. After struggling with erecting the tent for a while, I ambled over to a group of young guys and asked if they could help me. No worries. They were only too willing. And that's the kinda mindset you find with fellow campers... an instant camaraderie that you don't normally find in cities. Dunno what it is. Maybe it's sharing nature or something - a commonality. There seems to be a lack of suspicion and a readiness to welcome strangers... if you're a camper you must be cool.

I often use the expression hehe. But did you know that the hehe tribe actually existed in Africa? Yes, and they were fierce-some warriors! Hehe was their war cry. They were so scary they actually resisted colonization by the Germans back in the late 19th century. So now when I say hehe, don't necessarily think I'm having a harmless, jovial little giggle. I could be dangerous. You've been warned.

Could Jesus have walked on custard? Well, obviously, the answer is yes. On the other hand, you may be more interested to know how to defend yourself against an alligator.

Well, there ya go. After a weird and sometimes depressing day of soul searching, the time has come again to attend to domestic duties, such as feeding the troops. Fish cakes and chips. I didn't make the fish cakes but I did make the chips. Actually, that could be an ideal title for a hit song... instead of I Shot The Sheriff, But I Did Not Shoot The Deputy... try I Did Make The Chips But I Did Not Make The Fish Cakes. Yes? They don't call me a genius for nothing ya know.

And just for the hell of it, to brighten up the day a bit, let's have a little Maple Leaf Rag.

Oh, and TX Greg commented on the email prob with FL Josh... What may be happening with FL Josh's addy is earthlink is blocking certain IP addresses. I take it your using a DSL telephone modem box to connect to the internet. If this happens again try turning off the modem box, wait a couple minutes and then turn it back on. This will give you a new IP address, then try sending the mail again. If that doesn't work earthlink will have to unblock those IP addresses. Okay, I'll take the latter option, thank you. Gary

July 5, 2010. Pardon me while I have a little chat to FL Josh for a mo... my return email to him bounces. I contacted my ISP and they suggested I change to but that didn't work. Yours is the only email addy I have a prob with. This is the message I get:  Dynamic/zombied/spam IPs blocked. Write (in reply to MAIL FROM command)

Don't ask me why cos I dunno... and apparently neither does my ISP. Obviously that's the reason I haven't sent chapter 1 of Love Is to you for your critique. /end chat.

Speaking of critiques, so far so good. Oregon Richie made a couple of suggestions regarding Bobby's academic prowess which I've subtly incorporated, and TX Greg freaked about the use of the word 'spook' hehe, as it relates to the N word. Nigger is not a biggie in Oz. Spook here refers to a ghost, or can be used to describe a horse's reaction to a sudden movement. I can understand America's discomfort with the word nigger, though, because of the country's history of slavery. Most embarrassing. Oz didn't treat the Aborigines very well either but we also didn't have slavery. In any case, I intend to explore the political incorrectness of certain words and phrases. For example, I used to take offence at the word faggot, but I don't now because I've come to the realization that it can only hurt me if I allow it to. Remember the old kid's rhyme? Sticks and stones may break my bones...? Anyway, humor will be a major component of this story... not overtly hahaha but present nonetheless. I believe that political correctness needs to be corrected, if you get my drift. I might even throw in a Muslim terrorist for good measure hehe.

As Rashi said to me, just write the story... get it all down as it comes to you. Then you can go back and make corrections. So yes, detail such as grammar and sentence construction can wait. The most important thing is to tell the story first. I guess it's like painting or sculpture... get the outline and general idea happening, then attend to the detail. Mind you, the more attention you pay to the first draft, the less editing you have to do later. Hehe.

Mean-bloody-while, FL Josh commented on my piece about religious people who praise God's creation and conveniently omit references to ikky things: All living things have a purpose that keeps the world in balance.  Maggots are important for breaking down dead things and returning the old flesh to the soil. Yes, very true, and I have no argument with that. My point was that those who praise God's creation prefer to focus only on the pretty stuff. Like my mother... she refused to watch nature programs because they showed lions eating antelope, etc. And she didn't wanna know about that kind of harsh reality even though she cooked lamb twice a week. Go figure.

After watching the Youchewb vid of the rubbery kid, Josh sent this link to what is billed as the world's most flexible boy. AND... Jace ain't finished yet, no, no, no... he'd take over the whole damn waffle page if I gave him half a chance. Here's a link to 5 y/o Greyson Chance singing Proud to be an American. So cute. And here's a bit more of Greyson on the Ellen Degeneres show.

AND... Josh also commented on Westlife: The Westlife video "You Raise Me Up," was absolutely beautiful.  I looked them up on Wikipedia and found Westlife is the only act in UK history to have their first seven singles go straight to Number 1, and they have sold over 44 million records worldwide. They were originally signed by Simon Cowell.

Just back from getting my ticket for the steam loco ride on Wednesday. There are four departure times, starting at 9am, but I chose the most civilized at 1pm. What I might do is be at the station at 11-ish to take stills of the loco and carriages, and then return at 1-ish to do the movie of the trip. It'll save all that hassle of trying to do both at once. The trip is a shortie... just to Wingham and back, about 10 minutes each way. Tickets are $20 but I got mine for $18 because I'm a fossil. I paid the bloke in coins and said I'd been saving up hehe.

Beeb time: Bronislaw Komorowski regains the advantage over Jaroslaw Kaczynski, with 95% of Polish presidential votes counted. Right. Just what I needed to know. *ahem* A giant tanker refitted to scoop up oily water and clean it is being tested at the site of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Wonderful technology that hopefully will never be used again. Is that a good or a bad thing? I'm not sure. Iran has handed over new documents proving one of its nuclear scientists was abducted by the US, Tehran says. The US has strenuously denied abducting Mr Amiri, but ABC News reported in March that the scientist had defected and was helping the CIA compile intelligence on Iran's controversial nuclear weapons programme. Besides, the pay's better.

Hmmm, well not all that much going on at the Beeb right now. That'll change, of course, so don't fret. More bad news is just around the corner, folks. Be patient.

I phoned Chris, the panel beater and spray painter. My name is "up on the board" and he'll phone me when he's ready to fit me in. I think I'll wait for Chris to do his job before I approach the carburetor people. Don't wanna confuse appointments. I also don't wanna be without wheels for too long.

A question we often ponder is what is the key to eternal life, and I'm glad to say that Stephen Fry on his show QI has the answer. You'll see other clips of QI there as well, and they're all quite funny. Actually, I just got sucked in and watched several of them. The show is also on Oz telly but I'm usually nigh-nighs by the time it screens.

Took another peek at the used campervans and motorhomes site and salivated a little. 10 to 15 grand easily buys a rig that would suit me just fine. I don't want anything too big, anyway... perfect for two, even better for one... kitchen, dinette/lounge, standing room and bed. That'll do. Oh, and an awning. Soooo, I better stop yapping and get on with this book project. One of Australia's best-selling authors sells about 250,000 copies of each of his books locally. If I can manage 1/10th of that, I'll be laughing.

Last but not least, here's something special to celebrate NAIDOC week in Oz... a blind Aboriginal bloke with the voice of an angel. You won't understand a single word of his song, but it doesn't matter.

Pork chops for THEM and rubbish for me. I feel like rubbish... samosas, spring rolls and cheese and spinach pastries. Hehe. Gary

July 4, 2010. Love Is... Chapter 1 is on its way to the critics to be assessed.

A mate of mine phoned the other day to tell me that he's about to leave on a trip to Kakadu. He and his wife have rented a Maui motorhome. His wife's sister and her husband have done the same, and the four will travel to the Northern Territory outback in style. I turned green while I listened to him on the phone. Grrrrr.

Those motorhomes are worth a fortune, and there's no way I can afford one of those. But I'll happily settle for something less sophisticated, provided it has the basic comforts such as sauna, heated pool, marble bathroom, balcony, dishwasher, plasma TV, etc. Basics, right? Nothing too ostentatious.

There's a bloke across the road cleaning his house. He's up on the window awning washing the facia boards below the pitched roof. His young son is sitting on the roof above him, with his hands cupped over his mouth making jungle noises. Hehe. But that's what kids do, right? Dad does all the work and the kid just wants to play. I had to chuckle when I saw that.

Here's something I wrote about kids this morning in an email to Oregon Richie:

I'm convinced that boys and men are two distinct and separate species. Men are not cute. And that's that. On the other hand, generally speaking boys are not terribly bright - not the sort of people you can sit down with and become immersed in deep and meaningful convo about life. I think Nature designed boys to be pretty to ensure the propagation of the species. Then, after becoming fathers, they no longer needed to be pretty, so they got ugly. But if you're gonna boss your kid around you gotta be ugly... and menacing. Hehe. Nature's got it all figured out ya know.

Boys and men are a lot like cars. They're lovely when they're new. They're a bit ordinary when they've clocked up a few miles. And then they're interesting when they enter their vintage years. So there ya go.... brand new and vintage. Everything in between is ho hum.

Beeb time: The bodies of some of the scores of people killed in a fuel truck explosion in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been buried in mass graves. At least 230 people were killed when the overturned oil tanker exploded and sparked a fire in Sange village. Some of those who died were trying to collect leaking fuel but others were trapped inside buildings, including a cinema, by the blaze. Forget what the calendar says. We don't all live in the 21st century ya know. Cuban dissident hunger striker Guillermo Farinas is in danger of dying after refusing food since February, a doctor says. Don't blame me... it has absolutely nothing to do with my cooking. Nearly $2bn (£1.3bn) in loan guarantees will be given to two companies to kick-start the US solar energy industry, President Barack Obama has announced. One of the firms, Abenoga Solar, says that it is planning to build the largest solar power plant in the world in Arizona. Mr Obama said the projects would provide more than 5,000 new jobs. Bloody amazing. That big candle has been burning away for billions of years and here we are saying, "Ooer! We should take advantage of that!" Anyway, full marks to Obama... it's about time someone got serious about solar. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the US will donate $15m (£10m) to preserve the site of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Lest we forget... and we never should. Never. Australia won their second match in succession with a 42-run victory at Lord's, but the one-day international (cricket) series finished 3-2 to England. Just pretend you never saw that last sentence. The billionaire investor Warren Buffett has donated $1.6bn (£1.05bn; 1.5bn euros) to the charitable foundation created by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda. In all, he donated shares worth $1.93bn to five foundations. The rest went to foundations set up in the name of Mr Buffett's late wife, Susan, and their three children. Mr Buffett, who owns the investment company Berkshire Hathaway, pledged in 2006 to give away 99% of his wealth. This year's donation is higher than the figure of $1.5bn donated in 2009 because Berkshire Hathaway has improved its performance. Apparently money doesn't buy happiness but giving it away does. The thing is, though, ya gotta have it before ya give it away.

I'm losing the plot here ya know - losing touch. I've just discovered Westlife! I checked out Youchewb and one of the recommended vids was an interview with Westlife when they visited Oz. Westlife? Who dem? Well, I found out didn't I. Ireland is an amazing country... always punching above its weight. It's produced some of the greatest writers, poets and musicians in the world, and is still doing it. Check out Westlife.

And there goes another day, relegated to history. Another day crossed off my allocation hehe. Oops! Oh well... nuttin much I can do about that. Chicken schnitzels and corn fritters tonight... with a squeeze of lemon. Happy July 4. Gary

July 3, 2010. Wrote a little more of Love Is... this mornng but it ain't easy. Chapter 1 is critical. It's the chapter than either sucks in a reader or causes him to lose interest and close the book. So it's taking me a while. There are certain facts about the lead character's life that need to be disclosed but in such a way that it's "clever". Hehe. As Averil said the other day, "You can tell by reading the first page whether or not it's gonna be a good story." Hopefully, once I get chapter 1 outta the way, the rest will flow a lot easier.

So here we are again, another weekend. They're like flies around a barbie. Throw a steak on the hotplate and whammo.... instant flies. I think routine causes time to fly. When you're doing something different every day, the week seems to go much more slowly. It'll be interesting to see how time pans out on the Odyssey. If you can look back at a given week and say I was in such and such a town on Monday, and then another town on Wednesday and yet another on Friday, and I met XYZ and did this and did that, then it must seem like a fairly long period of time simply because of the variety. Yeah? That's the theory.

Beeb time: Two of the 11 members of a suspected spy ring in the US confirm they are Russian citizens, prosecutors say. Okay, so they're not Tasmanians. I was a bit worried there for a while.Russia says its Progress spaceship is under control after missing the International Space Station and will try to dock again on Sunday. Don't they have GPS up there yet? Former Argentine military ruler Jorge Videla goes on trial for the murder of more than 30 political prisoners in 1976. The long arm of the law is longer than I thought! A Los Angeles grand jury has indicted five suspects accused of burgling the homes of celebrities including Orlando Bloom, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. The suspects allegedly made off with millions of dollars' worth of art, cash, clothes and jewellery, according to local media reports. They face several counts of conspiracy to commit burglary and receiving stolen property in connection with the break-ins in the Hollywood Hills area. What those guys don't understand is that you're supposed to rob the rich and give to the poor! US Scientists and the National Federation of the Blind are developing a car for the blind and will present a prototype next year. The vehicle will be fitted with technology that allows a blind person to drive independently, the NFB and Virginia Tech University said. Non-visual aids include sensors indicating turns in the road via vibrating gloves. Puffs of compressed air on the face will alert the driver to obstacles. That's all very well, but I don't think I'd be comfortable in a taxi driven by a blind person. "What street are we in now?" "Actually, we're not in a street, driver. We're in a vacant lot, and your taxi is entangled in barbed wire." "Don't worry. I won't charge you any extra." Scientists have used the latest imaging techniques to look inside a python that had just swallowed a rat whole. The resulting footage is part of a project using hi-tech scanning methods to explore animals' anatomy. It took 132 hours for snake to fully digest the rat, the scientists said. Their work has revealed other strange insights into python digestion. Isn't it wonderful? All part of God's creation. Too bad about the rat but, you know, pythons can't live on bread alone. Toyota is to recall 270,000 cars worldwide - including 138,000 vehicles in the US - because of an engine fault. Here we go again! This is not good. The Netherlands produced a stunning second-half comeback to reach the semi-finals as Brazil's World Cup imploded in a dramatic game in Port Elizabeth. Oh dear... 2-1? Joao will not be pleased! Search engine giant Google has entered the travel market after acquiring flight information firm ITA Software. ITA provides software that organises fares, flight and journey times that are used by airlines, travel agents and flight comparison sites such as Orbitz. Google said it may well expand the scope, enabling users to search directly for flight destinations. Google paid $700m in cash for the US-based company, founded in 1996 by a team of MIT computer scientists. And to think Google was created by a couple of enterprising students. The land of opportunity still exists, folks.

Now back to creation. I often hear believers touting the wonders of God's creation, but they never mention maggots or cancer or earthquakes or all those nasty things. They talk about blue skies and mountains and flowers. Hehe. Oh well... cest la vie. I mean, is it a matter of having a positive attitude or is it a matter of ignoring reality? Interesting question, yes? Meanwhile, don't ask me. I'm just observing the game. However, I do wonder about things such as what goes through a rat's brain as it's slowly digested by a python while it's still alive. You have to wonder about someone who created that.

And now the quest for excitement. TX Greg sent me this link to a funny commercial. And here's a quickie... in fact, a literal quickie that was cut short by a rude shock.

Just back from a bit of shopping. It never ends ya know. I took one green bag cos I thought I was just gonna get a couple of things and ... yes ... I saw things that weren't on the list. But that's okay... nothing ever goes to waste in this house. You wouldn't believe how much I've changed since 20 years ago. Money was confetti back then. And am I happier? Yes, I am.

Hmmm, just checked Youchewb again and saw this... 16 y/o rubber boy. Talk about double jointed!

And here's one for July 4 from Glenn Miller. I'm old enough to remember that one.

Now, if there's one vid of Craig Ferguson you should watch it's this one. And I'll leave you with that. Gary

July 2, 2010. You see? It's the second already. July 2 just marched in, tossed the first to one side and said, "Piss off, I'm taking over." And that's the way it goes. Time waits for no man, etc. Time is relentless and cruel... and there's nothing we can do about it.

You know what I hate most about winter? Cold toilet seats. I mean, normally when you sit on something you're wearing pants. But you can't do that when you sit on a toilet seat. It defeats the purpose. It's a bloody disgrace. It's worse for women, of course. They have to sit ALL the time. At least we blokes can stand half the time while we point Percy at the Porcelain.

I was rather impressed by a Red Bubbler I discovered this morning. She's legally blind - 3% in one eye, 20% in the other - but takes wonderful photographs, one of which I favorited before I became aware of her condition. I think it's highly admirable that a person can overcome a disability and make the most of what life has to offer. Not sure if it takes courage or a positive attitude, or maybe a bit of both. But I was impressed.

Actually, I favorited several pics this morning. Usually, I might fav one every other day but today was different.

It's another coldie today... gray and bleak... so I'm not in the mood to write any more of Love Is... at the mo. I'll wait for the inspiration. No point in pressuring myself if the mood ain't right. And since I'm the boss, don't argue. :-P

I was very pleased this morning to receive confirmation of my carer's bonus to be paid next week. An extra 1200 bikkies thank you very much. That'll go towards getting Bluey's carby FIXED and removing a couple of rust spots. Bluey has cost more than I'd originally anticipated but them's the breaks. At least I've got a good reliable vehicle, and that's the main thing.

Beeb time: At least 35 people are killed and 175 injured as suicide attackers target a Sufi shrine in the Pakistani city of Lahore. Religion. Or is it religion? Maybe it's just some people's obsession with fanaticism no matter what the cause. Anyway, it's depressing. One of 10 suspects arrested in the US accused of spying for Russia is granted bail, but other bail hearings are delayed. Spying, in my business of writing and photography, is called plagiarism hehe. The Australian government has reached a deal with mining companies over controversial tax plans. Smart move... and one that will upset the opposition's plans. This will be one helluva interesting battle for votes in the upcoming election. President Barack Obama has pressed for reform of US immigration policy in his first major speech on the issue. He said the country needed one clear national standard but nothing could happen unless Republicans and Democrats worked together in Congress. The only non-immigrants in the US are native Americans. Same situation in Oz. US President Barack Obama has signed into law new sanctions against Iran intended to impede the development of its nuclear programme. The measures, which penalise foreign companies that trade with Iran, were overwhelmingly approved by US Congress last week. Mr Obama said the sanctions would strike "at the heart" of Iran's ability to fund and develop nuclear programmes. Will the sanctions subdue Iran's ambitions? Or will Iran become more determined? Stay tooned. A German bishop who resigned after accusations he hit children could be allowed to return to work, it has emerged. The Pope received the bishop in private audience at the Vatican during which - according to a Vatican statement - the bishop admitted he had made mistakes, but asked that the good he had done as a pastor not be forgotten. Fair enough. Every story has two sides. China's state news agency Xinhua has launched a 24-hour global news channel in English. Officials said CNC World would present "an international vision with a China perspective". The launch is being seen as an attempt by China to develop its influence abroad and counter foreign media views. Britain had a pop of just 11 million when it sailed out into the world to establish its colonies, system of government, culture and language. Pretty amazing, huh? In 1940, 12-year-old Cuban boy Fidel Castro wrote to US President Franklin Roosevelt to request a $10 note. The hand-written letter, embellished with an elaborate signature, has been unearthed by the US National Archives and Records Administration. Read the full story here.

A cold day like today is the ideal time to test Bluey's heater, right? So I did. I warmed up the engine and adjusted the settings, and turned on the fan. Lovely! I sat there and read a magazine, all cosy and warm. But... I couldn't stay there forever, alas. At least I know the heater and fan work. So now I'm back in the office. Recently, I noticed a little single bar radiator sitting in a cupboard. I'd forgotten about it. I'd repaired it years ago. I had a habit of finding discarded things in the street and bringing them home to fix. This one - an ancient Kmart model with wire wound around a central bar - had a rusty reflector, so I dismantled it and attached aluminium foil to the reflector and then put it all back together. It works fine, and it's working now. I don't want THEM to see it because they'll want one and have the damn thing on 24/7.

Back in the early 70s, Oz changed from Imperial to Metric, so miles became kilometers and pints became liters, etc. I've never gotten used to it, and still think in inches and feet. Anyway, I spotted a brochure from Rivers, a large clothing and footware clearance warehouse just down the road. Track pants, $10. So I waddled down there. Would you believe all the track pants had labels measured in inches? That confused me even more to begin with because I was trying to figure out what 34 was in centimeters! But a kindly customer put me right. "Must be inches," he said. "A regular waist is 34 or 36 inches." Cool! So I bought two pair of 34s which fit perfectly. They've even got stripes down the sides, which creates the impression of being a genuine health freak even when comatose. Actually, they're for wearing to bed. I'm fed up with waking at 3 or 4 in the morning and going for a pee with no pants on. Too bloody cold!

I've often seen Rivers' mail-outs and thought I must visit that store. Well, after 9 years in Taree I finally got around to it... on a wet day. There's a stack of stuff there... thousands of shoes, pants, jackets, shirts, jeans... all good quality and all at clearance prices. Lindsay reckons they have jeans at just $8. Anyway, I'm delighted with my purchase of two trackies for $20.

Not the most memorable of Fridays I'm afraid... nothing much to get excited about. Then again, we all get 52 Fridays a year and I suspect that most of those fade into obscurity because nothing of great significance happens. I suppose it's just as well, really, because if something awesome happened every damn day of our lives we'd be overwhelmed with memories.

Thick-cut rump for THEM and something or other for me... I'll check the fridge to see what's lurking therein. Gary

July 1, 2010. There ya go... the first half of 2010 went that-a-way. Seeya later, aligator.

Today, of course, is Cody's birthday. He would have been 28 today... a biologist and perhaps even married with a bunch of little Codys. We'll never know. Joao wrote: Due the world cup there are many programs on TV about South Africa, showing the people or interesting places like the beautiful Green Point Stadium, in Cape Town. All of them remember me (of) Cody and I think of how he would like all that big party, even if he wasn’t a big fan of football. Well, maybe he is enjoying the feast in a parallel universe, I don’t know, I’m not exactly a fan of physics or metaphysics. But I know that I’ll think a lot of him tomorrow so I send you a graphic for that.

Thanks heaps for that, Joao. I hope TX Greg adds it to the montage of graphics on Codysworld. Hello? Yoohoo! Greggy-poo! Hint, hint, hint.

Ohio Jace wrote: Codeman’s 28th birthday. Something I know you are very aware of. Since you like old cars and trains thought you might like to see some old pics of Capetown Circa 1940s. The beach (Muizenberg) used to be divided into three sections; African, Christian, and Jewish. Now, of course, it is not segregated. There is plenty of history in those photos.

Meanwhile, the "other" Cody, my friend on Youchewb, sent this link to a speech about problem solving and creativity made by John Cleese. It's as though I wrote the script. Check it out.

It's freezing today. It was 8C at 9am but "feels like" 5. Too bloody cold to focus on Love Is... I fiddled with it for a while but gave up. Shivering and writing don't go together very well. In the Youchewb vid, Cleese talked about interruptions to the creative process, and SHIVERING is an interruption. I can't afford to have the heater on during the day, or even all night for that matter. Last night I jumped into bed at 7:30 and watched TV on the little portable. I HATE COLD! Actually, Cody used to measure cold by how much his dick had shrunk. If it was 'one inch' cold, it was BLOODY cold. 

Oh well... I've done it again. I'm in ditty mode. I found the Admit One ticket I received from the Orchid show the other day in my pocket and it inspired this. I'm a bit of a worry ya know.

Beeb time: US lawmakers have voted to cut almost $4bn (£2.7bn) in aid to the government of Afghanistan, after allegations of corruption. It comes after the Wall Street Journal reported that huge sums of cash had allegedly been flown out of Kabul international airport in recent years. Military operations and humanitarian aid will not be affected by the cuts. I had no idea that kinda money was being spent on aid to Afghanistan. Did you? President Obama declares a state of emergency in Texas as Hurricane Alex makes landfall in neighbouring Mexico. They can't blame BP for this one. Well, at least I don't think they can. Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg is trying to make aviation history by flying a solar-powered plane through the night. Oh... what have we here? Moon power? Australia won the fourth one-day (cricket) international by 78 runs to end England's eight-match winning streak. That left it 3-1 to the hosts with the finale to follow at Lord's on Saturday. How embarrassing. Oh, well... Finland has become the first country in the world to make broadband a legal right for every citizen. From 1 July every Finn will have the right to access to a 1Mbps (megabit per second) broadband connection. Finland has vowed to connect everyone to a 100Mbps connection by 2015. That's interesting... a legal right! Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is to receive a prestigious US medal and $100,000 (£67,000) prize for his work in conflict resolution. The National Constitution Centre is awarding him its Liberty Medal for "steadfast" efforts to broker peace in Northern Ireland and the Middle East. Previous winners include Nelson Mandela and former US presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush senior. Mr Blair said he was driven by values of "freedom, liberty and justice". Politics aside, I quite like Blair

Okies, the spuds and pumpkin are in the oven, and the meatloaf (leftover) will be heated in the micro. Soived with instant gravy - but don't tell anyone. The heater's on and I'm ready for a bit of telly... news and current affairs.

Happy birthday, Code. LYT. Gary


← Older posts      Waffle Index      Newer posts →
Return to Home Page